If you are a young writer between the ages of 11 and 24 ….

….what about using history as a starting point for your creative writing?

Imagining History UK is the only creative writing project for young writers in the UK who want to explore or develop an interest in writing using historical detail as source material.

Our programme of workshops – Adventures in Time Travel – is excellent for writers who might also be thinking of studying, or are studying Humanities at University level. The writing of historical fiction (across all modes of writing – prose, poetry, dramatic, visual story-telling etc), and the exploration of historical places opens you up to thinking about history, geography, social sciences, literature, creative writing in new and often surprising ways.

Our workshops are based on five principles:
  • your ideas come best when your body is active,
  • you learn new things most effectively when your curiosity level is high,
  • the real-life world that is all around you holds unlimited treasure for your writer’s mind,
  • you need time to allow writing ideas to grow satisfyingly,
  • your inspiration can come suddenly, if the time and space are right. As an artist it is your duty to take your inspiration for a walk with your pen/pencil/keyboard!

The IHUK workshop programmes are designed to be immersive and 4-dimensional – even those that take place online. Time spent exploring your creative inspiration in this way is like stretching and deepening the space around you. You see more detail that can use to write your stories. In Zoom-space, with your mind activated, your familiar home-room morphs into a dream-world, familiar objects are invested with new inspirational possibilities.

Our workshops are designed and led by professional writers, arts educators and historians. You go on a journey of discovery, not only into the historical world you find yourself in, but also into the even richer world of your own thinking and creativity.

We share with you our method of making sense of your historical environment, the world of objects you find there, and the ways that historical details will weave themselves into your life and into your writing.

We encourage you to speculate – to use your writer’s mind to get under the surface of events, people and places. The aim is ignite your individual and creative take on historical worlds. Once this happens your ideas take over.

Who knows where you might end up – your imagination has no limits!

At the end of a workshop you will have a head and notebook full of ideas, real-life real-time observations and inspirations, and most importantly new ways of thinking them through to develop a story. You might even find a totally new direction to go in.

Creative writing during COVID times

COVID19 means that we can’t do IRL workshops for the time being. We’ll be back on the ground as soon as we can. Meanwhile we have been working on ways in which we can share our methods online – and maybe get you out exploring on your own when you can.

Times Shifting explores the current changing world we live in and flips time. At the end of this project you will imagine yourself into the future, and write a historical fiction of our time. Imagining History UK specialises in kinds of new thinking, posing questions that lie at the back of your mind, inspiring your writing silently and potently.

Boughton Journey re-imagines our real-life workshops for online. It will look at the changing relationships of people and the places they moved around in. History is much more in the relationships between ordinary and not-so-ordinary people than in the story of who chopped whose head off, or built which castle, or won which battle.

And you might think of this…

The Young Walter Scott Prize is the UK’s only competition for young adults (11-19 yrs) writing Historical Fiction. If you enter, you stand a chance of winning a top prize of a £500 travel bursary to help you continue your voyage of creative discovery. We publish all the shortlisted entries in anthology and online. Every single entry receives feedback from our team of judges, which is made up of agents, publishers, writers and educators.

Imagining History UK and the Young Walter Scott Prize are a family. We work together to open your creative horizons in as many ways as we can.

Read on through this website for more information about who we are, what we offer and why we do what we do. If there isn’t a workshop happening near you yet, perhaps you could try to persuade your adults to help you set one up. We’re always open to new ideas. Until the pandemic is over, look out for the start dates of our online programmes.

The Imagining History Programme UK is ready to help you in any way we can.

To get an idea of our approach and some cool ways to start writing a historical fiction story., head to our Just Write! page.

If you are interested in either of these projects – which will begin in early 2021 – contact us to learn more about them.

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