Historical Fiction is the genre established by the Scottish novelist Sir Walter Scott. As a young writer, he took his inspiration from the land, people and histories of his homeland.

Historical Fiction has come to mean a form of fiction that is grounded in historical detail. Historical novelists spend a lot of their time immersing themselves in this detail, before allowing their creative inspiration to take flight to create their stories. They take readers on journeys in time.

If you are exploring history as the source for your writing, The Imagining History Programme UK is here to help you.

We create a writing and thinking environment that explores the social, political and emotional worlds of past times. Our aim is inspire your writer’s mind.

Writing is moving! Where do you want to go?

During our online and in-person workshops, we share with you ways to source, create and develop fiction that is based on a fascination with history. The best historical fiction keeps readers reading, opens up new areas of thinking and inspires them to do their own exploring.

What do you want to write about?

Where do you want to take your reader?

At IHUK we want your writing to reflect your most creative possibilities as a writer.

Here are the four characteristics of good writing according to us:

Your sense of your self shines through your writing. You captivate us in the way you send your story rolling through our minds. Your inventiveness and choices make it clear to us that we are in the presence of true inspiration.
Trust your writer’s instincts.
Historical writing needs more than plot, character and setting – it needs bite – the quality that mesmerises you and draws you in. When you have opened up a new world, we don’t want to stop reading about it.
It starts with your new thinking.
Open a new door.
Draw us in
Your inspiration is fuelled by your curiosity to explore and become absorbed in new worlds and new thoughts. You need to know more than we do, since this allows you to create surprise.
Let your writing take YOU somewhere different.
Let it take US somewhere different.
Make us curious.
At IHUK we give you a taste not only for creating compelling plot, characters and setting – we give you tools to sense where your story is heading. History is too full of unexpected corners to limit yourself only to telling the usual kinds of things.
Put yourself into the world and discover.
Let your writing astonish you.


If you haven’t tried writing historical fiction before, here is a short workshop to try for yourself. Give it a go. Take a bit of time to think it through. See what you come up with.

Share your writing with us….. we’ll give you some feedback.

If you would like to know more about how we would help you grow your skills of exploring history to find the stories that are waiting for you, click here.

You can find examples of the writing of previous IHUK workshop participants here. And you can check out the prizewinning and shortlisted stories to the Young Walter Scott Prize here.

If you are a teacher or a heritage venue manager looking to develop a workshop with us, please click here to find out more about the way we develop and deliver our inspirational workshops and projects.

title image: Safaa Alfahel on Scopio

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