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Historical Non-Fiction Writing Workshop with SARAH GRISTWOOD

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Blue Haven Hotel

3 Pearse Street

Kinsale

Ireland

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HISTORICAL NON-FICTION


The challenge is to find the story. Or rather, to understand which one of the hundred different ways of telling any particular story is the right one for you, and for your reader.

I’d like to look particularly at the hinterland between fact and fiction. The ways the one can help the other, legitimately. I’d like to look at three particular fields - setting (in which I’;d include the whole question of historical detail), plot and character. The books I have in my head, and which I’ll be bringing in my suitcase, come from the era about which I chiefly write, the sixteenth century. Wolf Hall (if you haven’t heard Hilary Mantel’s Reith Lectures on this topic, you may find it worthwhile looking them up), my own first biogrtaphy Arbella: England’s Lost Queen and, by way of example, Elizabeth Fremantle’s fictional take on the same story of Arbella Stuart, The Girl in the Glass Tower. But of course, your interests may lie with another period entirely - and indeed, I have a substrand of early twentieth century history.

Sine our time together in Kinsale is so brief - I think this workshop may be packed into one long day - I’m going to suggest some preparation. That you each email over a passage of work either to the group as a whole, or else to me in confidence, if you prefer it that way. The obvious choice would be a few thousand words, perhaps the opening section, of something on which you are currently working. But in case you’re uneasy with that, I’ll suggest another possibility. That you take a character already in your head, in some historical context, and envisage them in receipt of some piece of information that dramatically changes things for them in some way. Changes their situation and the level of tension around them - changes their plans - or their response to another character - or simply their sense of their own identity. You may need to give a few lines of context - or maybe you can build that into the story.

The workshop, at once practical and theoretical, will explore questions such as:
– the use of historical research in historical fiction
– the way fiction bleeds into historical fact
– new forms in historical narrative
– the creation of a saleable narrative from the messy world of history.’

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Blue Haven Hotel

3 Pearse Street

Kinsale

Ireland

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Refund Policy

No Refunds

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