Plenary: Alison Weir


Speaker: Alison Weir (author and historian)

Alison Weir author of Innocent Traitor (2006); The Lady Elizabeth (2008); and The Captive Queen (2010) discusses her views of what makes good historical fiction and her relationship to academic history.


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3 thoughts on “Plenary: Alison Weir

  1. Yes, there was general agreement that an author’s note is essential, stating precisely which events/characters have been invented and which are based as far as possible in fact. Alison’s point about the responsibility of the author to his or readers (described as a contract elsewhere) is an interesting one – and is in many ways the same as writing in an academic context.

    She was also one of many to pick up on the problems relating to language – putting words in the mouths of historical characters. She cites extremes – from ‘Hey nonny nonny’ to ‘Dad’ – but several people raised it as an issue. How do you write something which is neither jarringly anachronistic nor alienating for a modern audience? Her approach of modernising in parts, even with some deliberate anachronisms, seems to be something of a middle road, but other speakers certainly approached it differently.

  2. I enjoyed the Alison’s talk enormously, and the others on Friday morning, but I’ve been struggling ever since with why I also…. not exactly disagreed, but realised that what writing fiction is to me, is so very different from what it clearly is for her. And I’ve realised why, and I explored the question more fully in my blog post on the group blog The History Girls yesterday, so rather than re-post it here, I hope it’s not a breach of etiquette to provide a link to it (Novel Approaches people might find it an interesting blog in a general way, too)


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