Is Biography a Fiction or Nonfiction? Let’s Find Out!

Is Biography a Fiction or Nonfiction? Let’s Find Out!

Biographies have been in the book-writing arena for as long as ever. We, as writers have been looking to tell people stories about individuals who’ve changed the world, or have played a part in influencing society for a very long time. Memoirs, Biographies, and Autobiographies all have nearly the same characteristics, but they differ still. In the blog, we’ll try to find out What is biography and whether it is biography fiction or nonfiction. 

Can a Biography be fiction?

Biographies are usually the stories of individuals and people who’ve created an impact on the larger society and have influenced the masses with their work in different fields such as sports, science, politics, and more. These sorts of books tend to inspire a generation with the content written in them through their struggles, life stories, and successful ventures. By the soul of it, Biography is a nonfiction text about the life of a person who has affected the masses. So yes, for the most part, Biographies are a nonfiction text. The question is, why do still people think of biographies as fictional texts?

Fictional Biographies, The Myth, and The Truth

The concept of fictional biographies seems to be absurd at the core because when you pick your pen to write about someone who is an inspiration for you, you won’t be writing about someone who is not a person who never existed. So, why does the question pop up inside our heads “Are biographies nonfiction only?” The notion, of ‘Fictional Biographies’ has been put into words by many authors. You know, that we live in a strange world that is mixed with realities and a whole lot of fictional delusions, or imaginations of people. “Memoirs of Geisha’ by Arthur Golden is an example of a fictional biography. Arthur wrote down the fictional flick with the ambition to highlight the life of Geisha who were around in Japan during the World War II era, shedding light on their identity and how they managed to survive in Japanese society during the war era. 

Fiction and Nonfiction, a debate?

Fiction and Nonfiction have been around in the book publishing and writing scene since the inception of storytelling, book writing, and story writing. Fictional stories are best when you are writing about something that is pure imagination, something that comes straight out of your head. Stan Lee is an example of a writer who not only wrote his fictional stories with great precision, the likes of which can not be repeated easily, but also lived long enough to see them become “Reel-Life” characters. But nonfiction is something different. Nonfiction is based on facts, truth involved in a person’s life, struggles, and success stories of people. Fictional Biography is like writing an autobiography of Spider-Man, where you describe how a spider bit him and transformed into the “spiedie” we all know and love today. It doesn’t sound interesting to people looking to find inspiration, but it may intrude on a person looking to read books for fun or enjoy a good cup of coffee on long winter nights. That person, whose sole purpose is to find pleasure while reading books, doesn’t seem to care about “Is a biography nonfiction?”

Is it necessary to call a book “Biography” if it’s not Nonfiction?

The literal meaning of the word Biography is a person writing about another person’s life, his/her experiences, and story overall. The way you look at it, You may seem to answer the question of whether is biography fiction or nonfiction, because for a writer to write about someone’s life he has to exist in the flesh and blood, right? Turns out, people take another aspect of the meaning of the word Biography, They seem to look at the literal meaning of the word, that is writing about a person, and perceive it by declaring that nowhere does it say to write about a person who has lived. An example is William Shakespeare’s writing about a moneylender in his fictional world, “Merchant Of Venice”, despite the concrete evidence suggesting that he’s never been outside of England in his lifetime. Although this book might not qualify as a Nonfiction Biography, it surely suggests that people and writers can travel to places to write flicks that are not even remotely close to reality.

So, What is the purpose of Fictional Biography?

There are several reasons why a person would take the route of writing a fictional biography, usually when you pick a book to read, you can make a general perception of whether a biography is nonfiction, But writers take the way of writing a fictional biography because of the following reasons, let’s look into some of them:

Entertainment: The sole purpose of people who are willing to a book that is a Fictional biography is Entertainment. The writer solely writes these stories about a personality who exists to entertain people, and this means, that if a writer decides to write a book about Spider-man’s life, that is purely for fictional purposes, and to entertain people. 

Commentary: This type of writing can also be very helpful for writers to pose the commentary on anything they want to highlight in society, or as Arthur Golden wrote in the book “ Memoirs of Geisha” where he wanted to write about Geisha, is a biography fiction or nonfiction, people may acquire this, the query is often easy to resolve with the book.

Character Study:  People write this type of fictional story to make a somewhat inspiring character, writers tend to develop characters that have an inspiring story, struggles that match real life, and success that may sound a bit unrealistic but make you work through that.

Exploring Themes: These books can be a very important way for writers to explore their variety and range of writing themes, in terms of exploring their characteristics, the story, the developments, and all other things that are involved in the exploration of themes.

The Famous Fictional and Nonfictional Biographies You Would Want To Try!

We’ve read and written a lot about what is a nonfictional and fiction biography, their differences, their purposes of writing and all that includes. It would’ve been a bit odd to leave you there blank and not suggest something from any of the two categories. So here’s the writer’s pick of each book from both the categories, fiction, and nonfiction biographies, which decide and stamp the answer to the question is biography fiction or nonfiction?  

Nonfiction Biography

Name: Steve Jobs

Year: 2011

Writer: Walter Isaacson

The name suggests what masterpiece this biography would be for one to read. The writer beautifully explains the life story of perhaps the greatest inventor, innovator, or tech-giant the modern world has seen, Steve Jobs. We all owe him the technology we use, and to know what his struggle during his lifetime to reach where he got to, you must take a look into the book. 

Fictional Biography 

Name: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Year: 1939

Writer: James Thurber 

This book is a historical legend, where the writer, James Thurber, tries to explain the adventures, and escapism he tries to form inside his head to add some spice to his dull life. This biography resembles many people around in today’s world as well, despite it being written around 85 years ago. 

What should you read?

You have to choose between the biggest genres, or subtypes of writing and reading, as a reader, you have to find your niche, where your heart and mind will find the peace, or information it needs to get better or maybe relax. The whole point is, that the reader will only find the satisfaction in reading the stuff he wants. As per the suggestions of the writer, I’d recommend a person reading biographies that are nonfictional, that’ll improve the chance of you learning stuff and knowing about inspirational personalities.


This blog was a small attempt to establish and answer your question” Is a biography nonfiction” or “Are biographies nonfiction”, We helped you way through that, and established that Yes, most of the time they are nonfiction, but to a writer’s imagination and thinking process, they can turn to be fiction as well. We went through the best books, why you’re hearing the seemingly absurd concept of fictional biographies and lastly, what should you read. This blog will clear your thoughts about the question, and will hopefully stamp the answer in one line “Biographies are dou-natured, One is fiction, other is not”. Follow BWO on Facebook, and Twitter for more blogs.

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