S-Town and Brian Reed: in Olympia, Tonight

Tonight I have the special privilege of seeing one Brian Reed give a lecture. If you don’t know who Brian Reed is, he is the writer and co-creator of the podcast S-Town, which was produced by the public radio show, This American Life.

Brian Reed started researching and writing S-Town when a man named John B. McLemore contacted him about an alleged murder in a small Alabama town. What followed was a startling series of events that covered everything from horology and clock making and fixing, to buried treasure and a tragic suicide. It’s one of the most interesting stories I’ve ever heard or read and the production and writing of which is among the best.

The lecture tonight, in Olympia Washington, will focus on the hybrid storytelling Reed undertook as the story developed and as he learned more and more about S-Town itself.

I’m curious if he’ll mention the line between fact and fiction, an ever-blurring line these days, as it’s something I think is both relevant and important. With the proliferation of autobiographical novels, creative nonfiction essays and, dare I say, a political system that promotes cherry picked stats that information and legitimize only a portion of the truth, I’m curious if he will tackle the difficult question every artist/writer must ask themselves–what is more important, the factual truth or the emotional truth?


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