Finding Your Voice in the Historical Novel

The historical novel is currently enjoying a renaissance. We are fascinated by the past. But how can we best capture the voices of the past? What are our responsibilities to historical fact and veracity? What about the sources – if we can’t find any, can we invent them? Unless we have someone’s private diary, we can’t say exactly what they are thinking – but a novel requires us to go deep into our protagonist’s consciousness. And can we explore the consciousness of someone who lived in a completely different time? This workshop explores how to write a historical novel, considering questions of research and sources, style, construction, voice – and most of all, how to get into that historical person’s head. Please do bring along any samples of your work to discuss (even if they’re about the very recent past) – particularly sections about character if you have them.

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