Crap Magic

Ask any of my friends and family who have young children: I love nothing better than demonstrating my one and only magic trick. I think it's a good trick, because the props and situation required - a fork, a napkin, a mealtime - are based on a situation where kids are always bored. Everyone else … Continue reading Crap Magic


In the midst of things

Short writing is hard. It stretches writers to find only the essential and to think about what assumptions they can count on their reader to make. We spent a whole day last week hearing from a range of writers who work in short forms, from poets, to curators, to #twitterstorians, and 'flash historical fiction' writers … Continue reading In the midst of things

Speculative Biography (Reading List)

This short reading list includes work where historians and biographers have reflected on the possibility and desirability of using fictional techniques to write real lives. It should be noted that not all of the following use the term 'speculative biography' or 'biofiction'. If you have any other suggestions for work you think belongs on a … Continue reading Speculative Biography (Reading List)

Grounded Speculation, or Divining the Past

Tarot cards are well-known tools for divining the future: why not use them for the past? The idea might sound strange, but I want to suggest a rigourous and legitimate method of using the Tarot to answer questions about the past. Whenever historians talk about creative methods, imagination is one of the first that comes … Continue reading Grounded Speculation, or Divining the Past

Flash Histories Symposium 5th July

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

Conventions of Historical Writing

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