Follow this link https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b083n15m
To a BBC documentary made by our historical adviser, Dr Dina Gusejnova in 2016. You will hear how something as mundane as a sheet of Tarpaulin opens up stories untold of lives lived and events experience.
Dina’s approach is an excellent example of how the existing historical record might be the source of high quality Historical Fiction. It also shows that History, as a subject to be studies is anything but the stuffy procession of names and dates that it is often made out to be.
No historical facts are too mundane or “boring” if, with a writer’s mind, you are looking at them for their human value and for the stories that hide behind them.
Photos from the Launch of Suffragette Stories.The resource, centred around the Annie Kenny archive held at UEA, includes stories written by professional authors and young people based on both historical details of Suffragette lives and inter-generational interviews with older women in Norfolk.
In July Alan Caig Wilson and Elizabeth Ferretti of The Imagining History Programme UK ran a training event for MA Creative Writers at UEA in techniques of inspiring Historical Fiction writing for young writers, at the invitation of the British Archive of Contemporary Writing.
Meet Dr Dina Gusejnova, lecturer and researcher in Modern History at Sheffield University and author/presenter of the BBC Radio 4 documentary Tarpaulin-A Biography . We collaborated with her on an oral history project on the Isle of Man in 2017 and she has agreed to join us as our adviser on all things to do with thinking through the historical research aspect of our workshops. She believes that Historical Fiction is an important way in which teenage minds can interact with sometimes impenetrable history.
She asks two questions of young fiction writers creating historical characters:
How do your characters see their lives developing? If they could do something now, how would they change the world they live in?
She writes: By engaging with history, we open our eyes to the multifaceted nature of our world: the paths not taken, things that might have been, the factors which led to things as they are now, a universe of peculiar but forgotten characters, of past dreams and expectations.