Doing Fiction and Non Fiction

Why Use Fiction and Non Fiction Literature for HIV/AIDS Education?

Literature can be employed in many diverse ways. Many resources are often required when it comes to book writing, but the rewards that can be gained—such as heightened awareness within a community—should be worth the effort.


    ✓ Books serve as a highly influential mechanism for educating and enlightening
    ✓ The practice of writing is beneficial not only to the reader, but to the writer as well
    ✓ Literature may serve to unite communities
    ✓ Books are a large part of popular culture
    ✓ Books and novels can be appreciated by communities around the world


    x The processes involved in putting together a book may be very time-consuming
    x Many people worldwide have never had the opportunity to learn to read or write
    x As books can have a fervent influence upon readers, select governments may regulate the types of literature that is allowed to be distributed

What Kinds of Fiction and Nonfiction Literature Are There?

There are many different kinds of fiction and nonfiction. Some examples include:

  • Compilations of short stories: A collection of works from various authors
  • Memoirs: A detailed account of one person’s life (may also include biographies or autobiographies)
  • Historical Books: A factual explanation of past occurrences
  • Handbooks/Manuals: Guides to follow for health and lifestyle
  • Youth Fiction/Non-Fiction: Any book that is aimed specifically at a youth audience

Different Ways to Approach Writing

Writing a book can be done as a solitary activity, or as a communal one. By approaching book-writing as a communal activity, HIV/AIDS awareness can flourish, as it will be brought out of the dark to be embraced by the public. A few ideas for book writing in a shared atmosphere:

Holding a Workshop

With help from a local community or school, a writing workshop can be carried out to encourage spreading knowledge through the act of writing. A few things to keep in mind when holding a workshop:

  • Location: Where will the workshop be held?
  • Materials: What materials are required? Is there a budget for such materials?
  • Publicity & Participation: Who will be involved? How will people be informed of the event?
  • Documentation: Once the workshop is over, how will it be remembered? How can the lifespan of the lessons learned from the workshop be prolonged?

Holding a Write-A-Thon

A write-a-thon can add an amusing twist to a book-writing workshop. By having participants receive pledges from friends and family for the amount of words or pages they write, participants may find more incentive and motivation to take part. Afterwards, pledges they have earned may be donated to causes such as HIV/AIDS education. As with holding a workshop, organizing a write-a-thon may take much planning. Write-a-thons may not be appropriate for all communities, as asking for money from friends and family may not be a possibility in underprivileged areas.

Cumulative Writing

Another method for turning book-writing into a shared activity is to have participants work together to make a book. By each contributing their own short stories or interviews, or having multiple people work on one story together, a book can be created with an assortment of advice, anecdotes, and emotions.

Before Starting to Write


Depending on how one wishes to go about writing a book for the purpose of HIV/AIDS awareness, there are a few basic materials that must be available for use. At the very least, a pencil and an abundance of paper should be at one’s disposal. If conducting an interview for the purpose of the book or novel, a tape recorder is helpful to keep at hand so as to accurately record information. Items such as photographs are also nice to have nearby for reference when describing people, places, and things. When accessible, dictionaries and thesauruses can act as a writer’s best friend; maintaining a good understanding of the language in which one is writing is key for successful communication. Where resources allow, computers and keyboards are an effective way of writing and editing. Of course, the materials mentioned above are to act solely as a general guideline; when writing is the mission, nothing will serve better than an innate passion to share a message.

While Writing Takes Place...

If one so chooses to run a book-writing workshop, documentation of the event may be recorded by:

  • Photographing participants as they come together and write
  • Allowing for participant feedback through the use of a guestbook
  • Notifying local radio or television stations of the event may prompt media interest

What to Do with Completed Literature

Once the writing has drawn to a close, there are a few different ways to go about spreading the knowledge:

Trade Publishing

Having a book published can be challenging and costly, but researching smaller book publishing companies can help to cut down on both the difficulties and expenses. Contacting multiple publishing companies to explain the purpose of the book one hopes to have published may allow for a chance to have the work printed for the public eye.
For more information on getting published, visit


Self-publishing is an alternative method of publishing, and may allow for more freedom on the part of the writer. For more information on self-publishing, visit


If there is no interest in being published, the book can be bound together using simple materials such as a hole-punch and binder rings. More sophisticated methods of book-binding include sewing and gluing, but these also require more materials and more practice. Do-it-yourself book-binding does not ensure that the book will be distributed far and wide; rather, the book may be lent to friends and family, or donated to a local library, community center, or school.


Completed works may also be posted on the Internet. This allows for numerous people to have access to the work, and so if one is unable to publish and print their book, the writing will still receive exposure.

Incorporating Multiple Art Methodologies
Blending various art forms can have a powerful impact on the project at hand, as well as enhance the final product. Some art forms that can be incorporated with books and novels include:

  • Poetry
  • Narrative Writing
  • Story Telling
  • Magazines
  • Newsletters
  • Websites
  • Drawing/Illustration

Recommended Books & Novels Dedicated to HIV/AIDS and Youth Awareness

There are countless books written for the purpose of educating the public; some are humorous, and others heartbreaking. Regardless of the genre, all HIV/AIDS awareness books are triumphant in shedding light on the matter. A few good reads include:

  • The Heaven Shop by Deborah Ellis. This fiction book concentrates on the hardships faced by children in Africa who are orphaned by AIDS. The children in the story use radio drama to spread the message that HIV/AIDS awareness is also HIV/AIDS prevention.
  • Teenagers, HIV and AIDS by M. Lyon and J. Lawrence. This manual offers advice on dealing with youth infected by HIV, as well as individual stories of teenagers who have been affected by the illness.
  • Race Against Time by Stephen Lewis. This collection of lectures examines the AIDS crisis that has been felt in Africa, and the ways in which world organizations such as the UN are both helping and hindering the fight against HIV/AIDS.

World Wide Web: More Writings on HIV/AIDS

Black Youth Project : Black Youth, Health, and Society (n.d.), Retrieved May 2010, from

Black Youth Project : Adolescent Sexuality (n.d.), Retrieved May 2010, from

Black Youth Project : Gender and Politics (n.d.), Retrieved May 2010, from

The Body: Books on HIV/AIDS (2007), Retrieved July 2007, from

Wrong Diagnosis: Books on HIV/AIDS (2000-2007). Retrieved July 2007, from


AIDS Action (1987-2006) Retrieved July 2007, from

LiBretto, Elle V. High/Low Handbook: Encouraging Literacy in the 1990s (3rd Ed.). (1990). New York: R.R. Bowker