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According to two-time PEN/Faulkner Award recipient E.L. Doctorow, there are good stories and there are bad stories. If the author’s previous works are any indication, examining pivotal points in history through the eyes of fictional characters—as he did in Billy Bathgate and The March—makes for a good story. During a 2004 commencement address at Hofstra University, however, Doctorow was nearly booed off the stage after asserting that President Bush’s make-believe claims of WMD in Iraq made for a bad story. In his latest book, Creationists: Selected Essays: 1993n2006, Doctorow contemplates the nature of making, period—goodness or badness be damned. The 16 collected essays analyze the creation of classic works such as Moby Dick, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Uncle Tom’s Cabin, as well as the construction of the atom bomb and the comedic genius of Harpo Marx. Watch the stories unfold when Doctorow speaks at 8 p.m. at the Folger Elizabethan Theatre, 201 East Capitol St. SE. $15. (202) 544n7077.