Going Down in History: Writing Historical Fiction

Jesse Blackadder

Saturday 14 September, 10am-4pm

Full Price: $195
Member: $135
Conc Member: $120

Historical fiction is a rich and popular genre, encompassing human experience across vast geographies, cultures and eras. History is one place where you can plunder true stories, rework them as you like and be safe from the repercussions. Or can you?

This writing workshop will explore how to write dramatic and powerful historical fiction. Through hands-on exercises, you will learn to bring the past to life and your ideas into written form. You’ll explore drawing on history as a rich source of stories; the perils, rewards and ethics of using real characters, events and settings; how ‘truth’ and fiction can mingle and enrich each other, and using language to create a sense of time and place.


  • The basis of writing fiction (Exercise 1)
  • What is historical fiction?
  • Your favourite works of historical fiction
  • Setting
  • Analysis of setting examples (in pairs and in group)
  • The world of your novel (Exercise 2)
  • Lunch break
  • Research
  • Language
  • Analysis of language examples (in pairs and in group)
  • Structure and point of view (Exercise 3)
  • Using real characters and events
  • What will you do after this workshop?
  • Moving forward if you get stuck (Exercise 4)
  • Distribution of resources /reading list

Expected Learning Outcomes

Participants will:

  1. Improve their writing styles through repeatable exercises;
  2. Understand how to analyse the use of language in historical fiction; and
  3. Have the skills to research historical fiction.

Participant Requirements

Pen and paper. Participants with a work in progress may bring a one-paragraph summary for reference.

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