Online resources

We have broken down the online resources to the following sub-headings for ease of use. Alternatively scroll down this page.

Radio                   Television

Podcasts             Networks

Databases          Virtual conferences





Woman’s Hour 27 April 2010 [Radio broadcast]

The writer Helen Dunmore discusses her latest novel, The Betrayal, which is set in Leningrad in the last years of Stalin’s regime. 10 minutes

Lively Arts 23 October 1977 [Television programme]

Melvyn Bragg talks to John Fowles at his home in Lyme Regis. The author of ‘The Magus’ and ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’ discusses his life, career and latest publication, ‘Daniel Martin’.  He talks about a diverse range of subjects and literary forms that feature in his writing including the state of the modern novel, socialism, humanism, love of nature and the defining features of the English character. 55 minutes

Open Book – Pat Barker 31 August 2003 [Radio broadcast]

The author of ‘The Regeneration Trilogy’ (a series of novels about the First World War) talks about her books. She tells Mariella Frostrup about the themes that run through her work and her desire to explore darker subjects, such as war, mental illness and violence. Barker discusses her creation of character and her enjoyment of constructing dialogue. 27 minutes

Monitor  13 September 1959 [Television programme]

An Interview with T.H. White in Alderney and an exploration of Arthurian legend and English traditions. The writer of ‘The Sword in the Stone’ talks to Robert Robinson and reveals the connection he sees between physical health and literary skill and explains why he feels he should be able to do everything he writes about, whether it’s hunting for food or deep-sea diving. 20 minutes

Intimations – Robert Graves 16 November 1965 [Television programme]

The author of ‘I, Claudius’ converses with Malcolm Muggeridge. Poet and novelist Robert Graves is best known for his World War I memoir ‘Goodbye to All That’, his children’s books about the Greek myths and the Roman sagas ‘I, Claudius’ and ‘Claudius the God and His Wife Messalina’. In this discussion with Malcolm Muggeridge, Graves reveals his influences and shares his views on Christianity and other religions, marriage and homosexuality, and his experiences during World War I. 29 minutes

Woman’s Hour – Hilary Mantel 11 September 1995 [Radio broadcast]

Hilary Mantel talks to Jenni Murray about her novel ‘An Experiment in Love’. They discuss hopes for women’s education in the 1970s, Hilary’s views on feminism and living by dogmas. The author also reveals why she never pursued a profession in law and how her early ill health affected her life and shaped her career. 10 minutes

Man Booker prizewinner Hilary Mantel on Wolf Hall

This year’s Man Booker prizewinner, Hilary Mantel, talks to Sarah Crown about her triumphant novel, Wolf Hall, how she came to admire her scheming hero Thomas Cromwell, and why she writes historical fiction. 15 minutes

Front Row 12 August 2009 [radio broadcast]

Writers of history and historical fiction explore the best ways of writing about the past. Mark Lawson examines the differences between factual and fictional writers of history and between academics and populists in the telling of stories from our heritage. Writers Antonia Fraser, Margaret MacMillan, Philippa Gregory, Hilary Mantel, Sarah Dunant and Tristram Hunt discuss the best ways of exploring the past. 30 minutes

Open Book 29 May 2011 [radio broadcast]

Mariella Frostrup celebrates a renaissance in historical fiction writing with authors Philippa Gregory, Sarah Dunant and Adrian Goldsworthy. In its heyday in the 1950s and 60s writers such as Anya Seton, Georgette Heyer, Margaret Irwin and Jean Plaidy achieved commercial success – Jean Plaidy sold a 100 million books in her lifetime – but little literary acclaim. So why is the genre enjoying a re-birth, and how do novels from Tudor tyrants to the 1930s Depression, from Renaissance Italy to the Napoleonic wars, speak to us now? The programme also includes an interview with Hilary Mantel, author of Booker prize winning novel “Wolf Hall” about the Tudor politician Thomas Cromwell. 30 minutes

Readers want historical novels – Today Programme 7 October 2009  [radio broadcast]

The author Hilary Mantel has won this year’s Man Booker prize for fiction. Her novel, Wolf Hall – set in the court of Henry VIII – beat entries from a number of former winners, including JM Coetzee and AS Byatt. The author discusses her award. 5 minutes

Was 2009 the year of historical fiction – Newsnight Review 21 December 2009 [Television programme]

Kirsty Wark is joined by Ekow Eshun, Natalie Haynes, Paul Morley and Michael Gove to consider why historical fiction has proved so popular in 2009. 10 minutes

Bookworm – W.G. Sebald 6 December 2001 [radio programme]

Sebald describes the source of his prose and explores the invisible presence of the concentration camps in his work including ‘Austerlitz’. 28 minutes [Begins with two adverts]

Live webchat: Sarah Waters 15 July 2011 [transcript of webchat]

Wide-ranging webchat on her fiction, publishers, television adaptations and character development.

Eric Foner remarks on history and fiction 9 January 2009 [conference lecture]

Author and historian Eric Foner presented his thoughts on history and fiction in a talk entitled, “Rethinking and Re-imaging the Past in a Changing World.” Eric Foner is a history professor at Columbia University. Part of the 2009 Key West Literary SeminarHistorical fiction and the search for truth. 38 minutes

Historical methods and practice panel 9 January 2009 [Conference panel discussion]

Eric Foner moderated a panel discussion, “How Can We Know (and Tell) What Happened in the Past?, with authors Jill Lepore, David Levering Lewis, Megan Marshall, and Patricia O’Toole. The discussion focused on research findings that changed the panellists’ mind, and then, they responded to audience members’ questions.  Part of the 2009 Key West Literary Seminar – Historical fiction and the search for truth. 44 minutes

A historical fiction roundtable (Penguin Books UK) July 2011 [podcast]

For this episode of the podcast, five of our favourite authors sat down to discuss their shared experiences writing historical fiction, as well as their own unique perspectives on the past. Harry Sidebottom (author of the Warrior of Rome series) discusses how the 3rd century was an era of rapid change that is wonderfully obscure to most. A. L. Berridge (Honour and the Sword) talks about why the contrasts between nobility and brutality in 17th Century England fascinate her. Karen Maitland (The Gallows Curse and Company of Liars) considers why she finds the myth and magic of the Middle Ages so captivating, as well as how she creates parallels between the historical and the modern to create a sense of familiarity for the reader. Stewart Binns (Conquest) talks about turning to his own time at school to find a heroic adventure from the 11th Century Norman Conquest. And Kate Williams (The Pleasures of Men) discusses the expansion of Britain and of cities in the Victorian era, and the, often overlooked, dark underworld that flourished. 37 minutes

Contemporary Writers in the UK [Database]

A searchable database containing up-to-date profiles of many of the UK and Commonwealth’s most important living writers. Also included are writers from the Republic of Ireland who have worked with the British Council (the database is supported by the Council).

The Literary Encyclopedia

The Literary Encyclopedia is an all-new reference work written by university teachers around the world. It is also a unique digital environment designed to integrate current knowledge of literature and culture and facilitate understanding of historical contexts and connections. Searches are possible by author, title of work and reference group (eg Arthurian literature, Confessional poetry). There is, as yet, no historical fiction heading. A subscription is required but snippet views are provided for authors and works.

Writing History / Writing Fiction: a virtual conference

A virtual conference hosted by the History Department at the University at Albany, SUNY with contributions and discussions between academics and an essay contribution from novelist Thomas Mallon entitled History, Fiction, and the Burden of Truth”

A fan-based site with reviews, interviews and over 5000 novels listed by time and place.

The Historical Novel Society

Founded in 1997 the Society promotes all aspects of historical fiction. It publishes two magazines and holds annual conferences.

Historical Fiction Network

Network of historical fiction.

Historical Fiction Daily  

An online magazine/blog that gathers articles and links of interest for writers and readers



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