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When Jim Fingal was an intern at The Believer in 2005, he was assigned to fact-check a 15-page essay by John D’Agata about a boy who committed suicide by leaping from the observation deck of the Stratosphere Hotel in Las Vegas. Every time Fingal found a fabrication (and there were many), he would e-mail D’Agata, who would argue that Fingal was making a mess of his “work of art.” As D’Agata clearly sees nothing wrong with his methods of journalism, he agreed to do a book, The Lifespan of a Fact, a collection of their heated e-mails as well as D’Agata’s original article with all of Fingal’s conscientious notes. Tonight, they’ll argue who’s right in this debate with Believer editor Heidi Julavits as referee.
Wed., April 18, 7 p.m., 2012