Historian, novelist, and broadcaster
Kate has written seven acclaimed works of fiction and non fiction. She’s also a broadcaster, appearing often on TV news and documentaries and she’s professor of history at Reading University. Her most recent novel, Edge of the Fall about the De Witt family as they make sense of their lives in the 1920s was acclaimed as ‘brilliant’, Mail, ‘thrilling from the first page’. Her previous novel, Storms of War, was given a starred review by Kirkus as ‘gripping, heartbreaking and above all human’. She taught creative writing with Andrew Motion at Royal Holloway, University of London – and she loves Iceland!
2021 Virtual Workshops:
Beginning Your Novel
We all remember our favourite beginnings of novels – they captivate us, seize us into the story. Opening lines and scenes are vital – if readers aren’t gripped by the first few pages, they might give up the book. How can we create enchanting, exciting openings – and be true to the rest of the book? How much do we need to ‘set up’ characters or future events. Should we use dialogue or description? Is there anything we should not put in the opening few pages? What about the use of prologues? This workshop considers the art of beginning your novel, looks at the beginnings of various novels and the beginnings written by workshop members. Please do bring along any beginnings that you have – we’d love to discuss them.
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.