Chaired by the IHR’s Dr Jane Winters our concluding roundtable looked at the questions that had come up over the course of the conference. What is the relationship between historical fiction and academic history? Is there a problem within the writing of academic history itself which limits its potential? Has historical fiction begun to enter a new period in its own history – has Hilary Mantel initiated a different form of historical fiction?
Although we are unable to supply the entire podcast from the Roundtable we have produced the responses for two of the questions raised for you.
[Notes: the audio quality of this podcast is poor in places due to the difficulty in placing the audio recorders in places where they could adequately pick up sound during the roundtable]
Question 1: Throughout this conference it has been claimed that historical fiction enables readers to reach the human experience in a way unachievable by academic history. Indeed, it seems to be perceived that academic history cannot get to the human experience. Is that true?
Question 2: There has been a lot of talk about the importance of authenticity for both acdemic history and historical fiction. How do writers of both forms deal with the need to write for your own times and for your own generation? How does those requirements impact upon authenticity?