The Writers Circle Speaker Series
Literary Time Travel:
Adventures in Writing Historical Fiction
June 10, 2012
Sparkhouse Studio, South Orange, NJ
History—and historical fiction—came to life this past Sunday as The Writers Circle hosted Literary Time Travel, the latest event in its monthly Speaker Series. The engaging panel included esteemed historical fiction authors Stephanie Cowell and Susanne Dunlap, along with TWC Director Judith Lindbergh and Associate Director Michelle Cameron, both historical novelists themselves.
The four women discussed such issues as historical research, loyalty to historical fact, choosing heroes and heroines, and selecting time periods. One attendee particularly enjoyed the panel “because of the different perspectives” it offered. The panelists’ discussion “helped [listeners] understand issues that come up in historical writing.”
In addition to the panel’s lively conversation, the speakers gave participants a chance to try their hand at two writing exercises. These brief free-writing prompts focused on framing ordinary moments in historical contexts and on the very human emotional truth that transcends geography and time frame.
The authors encouraged the audience to dive straight into writing, even if they didn’t have a lot of historical knowledge to back things up. “You can fill in details and do more research later!” they all chimed in as they encouraged the aspiring writers to share their work aloud. The exercises were one of the hits of the event— even Susanne Dunlap chose to have a stab!
Between the lively discussion, engaging exercises, and candid Q&A session to close the event, panelists and audience members were equally delighted, using words from “informative” to “inspiring” to describe their literary trip back in time.