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History and Fiction

28 August at 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM


This seminar probes the boundaries and relationship between history and fiction through the eyes of three practitioners. History is never completely knowable: does this mean reasonable speculation is an essential tool of historical work? Academic historians have long been encouraged to engage their imaginations in reconstructing and understanding the past. Does this differ from the work of historical fiction? If so how? Are they simply complementary approaches to grasping the truths of past human societies? How do writers of historical fiction conceptualise and perform their work of researching and creating characters, explaining events, and weaving narratives? We will hear from three accomplished authors working across different historical periods and places, and using different literary forms:

Dr Linda Weste is an award-winning poet and author, and tutor in the Creative Writing Program at The University of Melbourne. Her book Nothing Sacred: A novel in verse, explores late Republican Rome.

Dr Kelly Gardiner is a writer of historical fiction for readers all ages, and lecturer in creative writing at La Trobe University. Her works traverse many periods and settings, ranging from the WWI fields of Flanders in 1917, her most recent book for young readers, to the world of 17th-century opera in Goddess.

Dr Ali Alidazeh is an accomplished author of both fiction and non-fiction, and a lecturer in literary theory and creative writing at Monash University. His most recent novel, The Last Days of Jeanne d’Arc, was published in 2017.

The audience at this seminar will have the opportunity to present their own insights and to ask questions of the panelists.

Bookings will open on 1 July.

With thanks to the series sponsors, Monash University Publishing and the Monash University History Program


28 August
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Event Categories:


History Council Victoria
0418 814 957


Old Treasury Building
20 Spring Street
East Melbourne, VIC 3002 Australia
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(03) 9651 2233