What we do
The Imagining History Programme offers free writing workshops in historical places during which writers between the ages of 11 and 19 years explore the making of a piece of Historical Fiction.
Carefully curated field trips, object explorations and writing sessions of varying lengths cultivate the sheer enjoyment of discovering unknown worlds. Our projects bring together historical research and a taste for enquiring into the context that creates a good story. To this we add innovative and enjoyable practical techniques for developing the idiosyncratic signatures of young writers. It has become clear in the three years since we began, that our approach can be an important tool in developing a creative and individual ‘take’ on historical facts. Imagining History allows students to speculate in a particularly open way, creating intellectual journeys behind the accepted facts about the lived lives of historical figures and places.
The programme was established in 2015, as the practical project of The Young Walter Scott Prize, the UK’s only writing prize for teenagers exploring Historical Fiction.
It grew out of conversations with teenage writers in the months following the establishment of the Young Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. Young writers expressed a certain confusion and lack of confidence in building satisfying fiction out of historical facts.
Since then around 400 young writers have been allowed special access to venues across the South of Scotland, the East of England and Cornwall to explore, research and write in historical places.
For more information about the range and reach of our programme, read more here
We work in a three-dimensional way with young writers, their schools and colleges, professional writer- and arts-educators and in an innovative way with sites of historical interest.
Young writers and their minds are at the heart of our work. We take the view that for a young person encountering the historical environment for the first time ALL history is historical fiction.
Evidence from our first three years of creating workshops shows that the resonance of this kind of immersive, experiential approach to creative writing extends beyond the academic boundaries of English and History. Our programme is based on a carefully developed and guided form of physical, intellectual and creative discovery. This allows our approach, potentially, to reach into many areas of the personal growth of a young mind.
for more information on how we create our projects read more here
History is first and foremost a fascinating story of people, grounded in a past time and filled with all the unknown unknowns that can drive a young writer’s imagination when presented in a way that captivates.
The Imagining History Programme UK is umbilically connected to The Young Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. Every workshop ends with a recommendation to the craft an entry to this innovative competition. This gives our participants a goal to work for as they leave the venue buzzing with ideas.
In 2017 the first prize winner in the younger age-category of YWSP was Leonard Belderson who attended a workshop at Blickling in Norfolk.
The Young Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction (YWSP) is the UK’s only creative writing competition for teenagers exploring Historical Fiction.
Read more about YWSP here