How to navigate the temporal power of the pen Recently, I have been stuck in the past. I’ve looked at documents from the past. I’ve considered photographs from the past. I’ve read what historians say about the past. I’ve written scenes set in the past. Turns out, when you work in a History department, there … Continue reading When should I write?
Tickets are now live here for the symposium on 'Flash histories', which will bring together creative writers, historians, publishers and heritage professionals. Themes for discussion include: Brevity: its uses and pleasures Imagination, play and the real in creative histories Archives and historical sources in fiction-making Social media, publishing and disseminating history Public history and the … Continue reading Flash Histories Symposium 5th July
This post is prompted by an event co-organized by the Institute of Historical Research and the Raphael Samuel Centre for Public and Creative Histories on 'New Approaches to Writing History'. What is new in recent historical writing? The problem with answering this question is that historical writing has never been a fixed target. As long … Continue reading Conventions of Historical Writing
The following is adapted from my notes for an 'Ideas Lunch' being hosted by the Brigstow Institute in Bristol today. The question of the ethics of historiography is, of course, not a new one. In fact Laura Sangha has written a post for the StoryingthePast blog precisely on the question of ethics, history, and fiction, which you … Continue reading 6 Questions About Ethics and Creative-Historical Work
What makes us happy about the witch? How do stories of witchcraft enchant and please us? The past couple of weeks I’ve been pulled away from writing about historical French witchcraft by a series of encounters with the witch archetype: the fictional witch, the cartoonish Halloweeny witch, the feminist witch. It began with an Easter … Continue reading The Worst Witch
Musing on the MERL. We recently we had our first project day trip outing to the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL), in Reading. On the museum’s website it explains that it “was established to record the disappearance of a sustainable rural way of life in order to understand and learn from the past as its … Continue reading Whose Rural?
One of the things I've been thinking about recently concerns the distance from archival research to a finished article. I'm very conscious of the danger of seeing the Archive as a kind of neutral information box, and trying to think about more ways to incorporate reflections on the constitution of archives into my writing. I … Continue reading Some Readings on Archives