Writing Historical Fiction with Anna James

How do you bring the past to life and create a world that is both familiar and strange? Create compelling characters and settings in this masterclass for fiction writers.

The thrill of reading and writing historical fiction is that it allows us to explore the lived experience of the past: its sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures. Yet there are challenges, too, in researching and representing worlds and worldviews that are very different from our own. In this masterclass, we will explore how to use historical details as inspiration without letting them get in the way of storytelling.

What will you do on the course?
We will look at what makes historical fiction so powerful, and how we can bring this into our own writing. We will use images and reading as prompts to practise skills related to characterisation and setting. We will discuss challenges, experiment with short creative exercises, and share constructive feedback.

Who is it for? 
If you want to tell a story set in the past, whether in prose or verse, then this masterclass is for you. Writers at any stage in their work are welcome.

About Spread the Word’s discounted rates
London Writers Network members receive a 10% discount on Spread the Word’s paid programme of activities, and access to two free specially programmed London Writers Network events a year. You can find out more about the London Writers Network scheme here. If you are a London Writers Network member please login to receive your discount.

To see if you are eligible for a concessionary rate, please take a look at our concessions policy.

Anna James

Masterclass Tutor

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Anna James is a writer and arts educator who has delivered workshops in museums, archives, schools, universities and community settings. Her PhD in Creative and Critical Writing at UEA focused on historical fiction and was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. She was one of Spread the Word’s emerging writers on the PLATFORM scheme and is currently completing her verse novel set in the world of seventeenth-century fake news.