Creative Writing as a Tool of Sustained Ignorance, by Will Pooley

The prohibition against outright invention is a shibboleth of historical professionalism. Perhaps one of the most useful tools historians can learn from creative writers is how to make things up, writes Will Pooley. I’m not arguing in favour of anything like what George R.R. Martin recently called ‘fake’ or ‘imaginary’ history. When historians present histories … Continue reading Creative Writing as a Tool of Sustained Ignorance, by Will Pooley

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The Fact That Engenders, by Kim Sherwood

Virginia Woolf, writing about the art of biography in 1927, argued that ‘[b]y telling us the true facts, by sifting the little from the big, and shaping the whole so that we perceive the outline, the biographer does more to stimulate the imagination than any poet or novelist save the very greatest.’ As a novelist … Continue reading The Fact That Engenders, by Kim Sherwood

The Living, the Dead and the Very Very Dead: Ethics for Historians by Laura Sangha

Students of history are no strangers to ethics, writes Laura Sangha. Indeed, universities have ethics committees and policies which cover instances where the conduct of research involves the interests and rights of others. For historians, this usually means that they must reflect on the possible repercussions of their research on the living – particularly those … Continue reading The Living, the Dead and the Very Very Dead: Ethics for Historians by Laura Sangha

Historical Fiction and the ‘Pastness’ of the Way People Think, by Mark Hailwood

Once upon a time, I wrote a blog post about the story telling techniques that historians use in their writing, writes Mark Hailwood. This was not a long time ago, and nor was it far away – you can read it here in fact. Inspired by the ‘Storying the Past’ reading group, and a series of … Continue reading Historical Fiction and the ‘Pastness’ of the Way People Think, by Mark Hailwood

Blog Series: Creative Writing and History

The third and final event of the 'Creative Histories' series funded by the British Academy in 2017-8 was held in Bristol on 26th January. The event brought together historians and creative writers to talk about shared challenges as well as a disagreements, and finished with a talk from Kate Summerscale, author of a series of … Continue reading Blog Series: Creative Writing and History

Gertie Whitfield, ‘Bringing history to life in the classroom’

“It felt great, being able to imagine you are someone you will never really be.”   (Year 6 pupil, Totley Primary School) It never fails to amaze me the number of times children, young people and adults tell me in their various ways how they want to experience and feel history, they don’t want to be told … Continue reading Gertie Whitfield, ‘Bringing history to life in the classroom’

Virginia Heath, ‘From Scotland With Love’

“Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings…” Ingmar Bergman From Scotland with Love is a BAFTA nominated feature documentary film, screened with live performance of the soundtrack at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, the Barbican, Edinburgh International Festival, played on … Continue reading Virginia Heath, ‘From Scotland With Love’

Sarah Wise, ‘More sensibility than skillset?’

I’ve been somewhat back-to-front in my professional life:  I moved from being a journalist, to a writer of social history books for the general reader, to a guest lecturer/tutor — the latter placing me in the foothills of academic life, I guess. Complicating matters further is my interdisciplinarity: my BA was in English Literature, but for … Continue reading Sarah Wise, ‘More sensibility than skillset?’

Joe Moran, ‘Writing the Everyday’

The title of this blog—Storying the Past—already makes me feel slightly fraudulent. I have never been any good, in life or in writing, at telling stories. I think of myself as a miniaturist, with little flair for sustained narrative. The best I can do, in terms of creating narrative suspense, is not to bore the … Continue reading Joe Moran, ‘Writing the Everyday’

Blog Series: Creative Histories, Sheffield 2016

We held our first Creative History event at Sheffield Hallam University in July 2016, funded by the Humanities Research Centre at SHU. The event was a day symposium which included novelists, a writer of popular history, a visual artist, film-maker and 'creative historian' in schools. Better late than never, we have just collected a series of blog posts from this … Continue reading Blog Series: Creative Histories, Sheffield 2016