Historical Fiction Writing Workshop

The course objective is to prepare writers, of all levels, with the skills necessary to complete a historical fiction — short story or novel chapter. We will explore a variety of topics geared to learning how to research your novel, and how to incorporate history into setting, characters, and plot. The class will consist of research and world building exercises, analysis of popular historical fiction. Students will develop either a short story or a work-in-progress novel throughout the weeks. Students will leave with a thorough understanding of the historic novel, and feel confident to create a work of their own, hopefully building on the piece developed in workshop.

Historical Fiction Goals

  • To identify and read exemplary works as a foundational study to creating your own;
  • To research people, events, artifacts and place as development for narrative;
  • To generate new drafts of work;
  • To provide critical feedback on work so you can revise and make it as strong as it can be;
  • To help you further strengthen your knowledge of form and to provide you with the environment to better understand your individual voice so you can apply this to future works;
  • To help you learn and improve on the techniques of writing and self-editing so that you are aware of your preferred forms and boundaries and be able to consider how you might push your preferred forms into your best craft.

Historical Fiction Course Materials

  • British Institute for Research
  • The Clan of the Cave Bear
  • Crichton, Michael. Timeline.
  • Dickens, Charles. Hard Time.
  • Gateway to World History
  • Gone with the Wind
  • Gregory, Philippa. The Other Boleyn Girl.
  • Jstor
  • Library of Congress
  • Miller, Madeline. Song of Achilles.
  • Mosse, Kate. Labyrinth.
  • The Red Violin
  • Tolstoy, Leo. War and Peace.
  • Ulrich, L. T. The Midwives Tale.
  • Weir, Allison. Innocent Traitor.

Historical Fiction Faculty Contributors

Colleen Morrissey is an author, scholar, and teacher from Omaha, Nebraska. She achieved her B.A. in English at the University of Iowa and her M.A. in English literature at the University of Kansas. She is currently working toward her Ph.D. in English Literature at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Her dissertation, which she will defend in spring 2018, explores 19th-century British literature and culture. She was awarded an O. Henry Prize in 2014 and has been a Best American Short Stories Notable. Her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, Southeast Review, Cincinnati Review, Monkeybicycle (print and audio), and others; her creative nonfiction has appeared in Confrontation; her scholarly writing is forthcoming in the Iowa Journal for Cultural Studies and an edited volume on British women writers; her poetry has appeared in Parcel and Blue Island Review.

Hunter Liguore is an Assistant Professor of Writing at Western Connecticut State University and teaches social justice for writers and historic fiction in the MFA writing program at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. A long-time naturalist and activist, she has written on a variety of topics that promote compassionate awareness towards the environment, indigenous peoples, and endangered species. A three-time Pushcart-Prize nominee (including 2017), her work has appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, among other periodicals.