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Research & Writing Masterclass: Making History Come to Life in Fiction with Gillian Polack

16 October 2021 | 11:30 am - 1:30 pm

In this two hour Research and Writing Masterclass, Gillian Polack teaches writers techniques for making the historical world of the novel come to life for the reader. These techniques will be placed in a wider background of narrative genre, to help writers understand the role of their creativity in interpreting history for readers. We will examine the role of genre, for instance, and how writers use story space. The focus will mainly be on the needs of historical fiction and historical fantasy writers.

In the first hour, we will look at how to construct history for specific types of novels and methods for communicating it in ways that enhance the story. In the second, we will discuss samples of work by writers in the session using these techniques and theory. Areas that may be discussed include approach, ethical issues, fact-checking, sources, whether the history has been communicated successfully and how a specific piece of writing meets or diverges from genre norms.

First, book your session. Then please email the following documents marked ‘HNSA’ to philologa@gmail.com by 5pm AEST 15 October, 2021*.

  • Cover sheet with your name
  • 10,000 words from your manuscript

*HNSA reserves the right to refund your money and allocate your place to the next person on the waiting list if the deadline is not met.

Cost: $260

Max 3 people

About Gillian Polack

Dr Gillian Polack is a writer, editor, researcher and teacher. She recently won the 2020 Ditmar for best novel and was awarded the A Bertram Chandler Award for lifetime achievement . She has PhDs in Creative Writing and in Medieval History. Her research includes how writers think of history and how they use it in their fiction (published as History and Fiction: Their Research, Worlds and Stories, 2016), and how other aspects of culture are encoded into novels. Her work on demystifying the Middle Ages can be found in The Middle Ages Unlocked: A Guide to Life in Medieval England, 1050-1300. For more information:




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