Writing the Past

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writing the past - tessa harris
Event Cancelled
Mon 03Aug

Bringing Historical Fiction to Life

Facilitator: Tessa Harris

This intensive one day course is for those with a passion for history and the desire to make it come alive through the medium of the novel.

Event time: Mon 3rd Aug 2020 at 9:30am - Mon 3rd Aug 2020 at 5:00pm

At a glance

  • For fans of historical fiction by authors such as Philippa Gregory, Alison Weir and Bernard Cornwell
  • An experienced writer, journalist and teacher will be your guide

What participants will gain

  • Ideas and inspiration for finding your authentic writing voice
  • Insight into research techniques
  • The confidence to develop convincing plot lines and characters that are relatable to the modern reader
  • Ways to bring fictional history to life on the page

Prior to the course, you’ll be asked to complete a questionnaire to ascertain what period(s) interest you and which writers appeal to you most to enable the course to be more tailored to your needs.

It’s been said that the purpose of writing historical fiction is to hold up a mirror to contemporary society. We’ll kick off with a discussion about its purpose and the various sub-genres open to writers, such as crime, romance and mystery.

Thorough research is, of course, the keystone of any historical novel, so we’ll be looking at how to research your favoured time period using online resources, specialist libraries and archives and the importance of connecting with other researchers and groups. Giving an authentic feel to your fiction, as well as an authentic voice to your characters is, of course very important and you’ll be taught how to seamlessly incorporate period facts into your story. We’ll also study the various structural techniques that can be employed in historical fiction, as well as learning how best-selling authors do it.  Throughout the day there’ll be lots of writing exercises to help you hone your skills, peer critiquing and plenty of time in the afternoon for Q&A sessions.

Price Options

£65 Day Rate


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    You can update your communication preferences at any time. Every e-newsletter we send includes a link to opt-out. You can also let us know of any changes to your communication preferences calling us at 01453 759034 or emailing us at info@hawkwoodcollege.co.uk.

Practical Information

Participants will be asked to complete a questionnaire in advance about the period in history that interests them and styles of writing they prefer. Price includes materials.

Please bring a packed lunch, snacks and a water bottle. Tea and coffee will be provided.

Registration from 9.00am-9:30am.

Tessa Harris

Tessa Harris is the author of nine published historical novels. Her debut, The Anatomist’s Apprentice, won the Romantic Times First Best Mystery Award 2012 in the US. She holds an MA in History from Oxford University and is also a journalist, playwright and screenwriter.

She has many years’ experience of researching and writing history, then translating it into fiction. Her nine historical novels to date have attracted a wide readership in America, where her publisher is based. She is also a qualified journalist and has written hundreds of articles for national magazines and newspapers. Her lively talks on medical mayhem in the 18th century and on Victorian crime have been heard by audiences the length and breadth of the country.

(© Image by Maureen McLean 2011)

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“…Harris paints her word-pictures with a master’s skill.”