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Writing historical fiction

Guardian Masterclasses

Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 10:00 AM - Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 5:00 PM (GMT)

Writing historical fiction

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Ticket Type Sales End Price * Fee Quantity
Writing historical fiction Ended £400.00 £0.00
* Prices include VAT

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Event Details


This intensive weekend course is for writers who want to explore the components of great historical fiction

The course is intensely practical and will examine the components of compelling fiction written within an historical context. We’ll look at what inspires us, how to direct our research, how to build plot, character and structure against an historical backdrop.  The course will be a mix of formal teaching, discussion of source material, and the opportunity to practice writing and receive feedback. 

Course content

- The historical spark.  What inspires us – a delve into a selection of historical snippets – diaries, letters, news reports, - to find a springboard for fiction

- Making choices – taking liberties with history.  Decisions about author voice – types of historical fiction

- Probing history.  How to research beyond the historical footnote.  What are we looking for as we delve deeper?

- Authenticity – the parameters of great historical fiction

- Character – historical characters/fictional characters.  Creating a character who works within four dimensions 

- Plot within a plot – an historical event intertwined with a fictional event

- The historical landscape – bringing it all together – a blend of voice, plot, character, setting, historical context

You will leave this masterclass with a plan for a piece of original historical fiction, handouts with key learning points about plot, character and research, and an understanding of how to take your idea forward.  

Tutor profile

Katharine McMahon is the author of eight novels of which the latest is Season of Light, set during the French Revolution. The Rose of Sebastopol (Weidenfeld & Nicholson), set during the Crimean War, was selected for Richard and Judy’s British Book Awards and was an international bestseller. A previous novel, The Alchemist's Daughter, was a Waterstones Paperback of the Year.  Her novels are published in the US and across Europe. She is currently working on a sequel to her novel The Crimson Rooms.

Katharine has taught creative writing in universities and for the Arvon Foundations and is a mentor on the Eastern Arts Council Escalator programme; she has appeared at festivals across the country and on 'Woman's Hour' for BBC Radio 4. She has written lyrics for Janie Dee, which were performed on 'Loose Ends' and at the National Theatre Studio. Since April 2010 Katharine has served on the Sentencing Council of England and Wales.  She has extensive experience in training both in the field of writing, and within the criminal justice system


Date: Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 December 2013
Times: 10am-5pm  
Venue: The Guardian, 90 York Way, King's Cross, London N1 9GU
Price: £400 (includes VAT, booking fee, lunch and refreshments)
Maximum class size: 15

Have questions about Writing historical fiction? Contact Guardian Masterclasses

When & Where

N1 9GU London
United Kingdom

Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 10:00 AM - Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 5:00 PM (GMT)

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Guardian Masterclasses

Welcome to Guardian masterclasses – a unique programme of learning embedded within one of the world's most forward-thinking media organisations.

Masterclasses offer a broad range of short and long courses across a variety of disciplines from creative writing, journalism, photography and design, film and digital media, music and cultural appreciation.

Harnessing the expertise and specialisms within the organisation, our courses are led by first class and award winning guardian professionals whilst also drawing on the skills and expertise of other leading figures at the forefront of the creative and digital industries.

The programme is aimed at anyone interested in personal or professional development whether that be refining your skills, focusing your ambition or simply broadening your mind and gaining inspiration.

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Writing historical fiction
London, United Kingdom Events Class

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