Sheila Heti Transforms Her Diaries Into Autofiction

January 21, 2022

At Literary Hub, Walker Kaplan takes a look at Sheila Heti’s new autofictional, alphabetical newsletter, available exclusively to New York Times subscribers. This started out as Heti’s “procrastination project,” which took her decades to create and involved importing her diaries into Excel, sorting sentences in alphabetical order, and searching for patterns and repetitions. “I always enjoy working with writing that I didn’t initially intend to be read,” Heti says, “because writing that is written without an audience in mind has a kind of freshness, an honesty or purity; an unselfconsciousness.” In the first installment of the newsletter, A to C, Heti proves unsparingly honest, with lines like, “All the faith you had in art, you can have in this man”; “All the really great things that have been created in art have been created by adults”; and “Although what if living honestly doesn’t get you where you want to go?”

Image Credit: Publishers Weekly.

is an assistant editor at The Millions. She is a graduate of the Inkluded Academy 2021, a summer publishing course for graduates from BIPOC communities, and works as a freelance writer and uploading specialist.

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