In recent years, the biographical novel has become one of the most dominant literary forms-J.M. Coetzee, Margaret Atwood, Hilary Mantel, Colum McCann, Anne Enright, Joyce Carol Oates, Peter Carey, Russell Banks, and Julia Alvarez are just a few luminaries who have published stellar biographical novels. But why did this genre come into being mainly in the 20th century? Is it ethical to invent stories about an actual historical figure? What is biofiction uniquely capable of signifying? Why are so many prominent writers now authoring such works? And why are they winning such major awards? In Biographical Fiction: A Reader, some of the finest scholars and writers of biofiction clarify what led to the rise of this genre, reflect on its nature and form, and specify what it is uniquely capable of doing. Combining primary and critical material, this accessible reader will be invaluable to students, teachers, and scholars of biofiction.