Sir Walter Scott is a household name. He was the first and arguably the greatest of Scotland’s historical novelists. But how many of us can actually claim to have read any of his novels, let alone all twenty-eight?
Napoleon and Walter Scott were titanic figures and almost exact contemporaries. If Scott was the prime creator of the idea of Romantic Scotland, Napoleon adored Scott’s precursor, James Macpherson’s version of Ossian, and never travelled without the book in an Italian translation.
Highly acclaimed, bestselling historical novelist Sara Sheridan talks about the post-War Austerity era, how it captured her imagination and why, from rationing, to the role of women and the birth of the swinging 60s.
The author of Four Days in June, the Jack Steele series, The Black Jackals series and Alamein presents a personal account of an author’s journey along with ideas and help for those who aspire to write in this popular genre.
When Lampedusa’s novel, The Leopard was published in Italy, soon after the author’s death in 1957, the Italian literary establishment was astonished. How could an almost unknown Sicilian Prince have written a great novel set in the turbulent Italy of the 1860s?
Visconti’s take on Lampedusa’s masterpiece. Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale star in Luchino Visconti’s epic story of the fortunes which befall one aristocratic family during the 1860s, at the time of the unification of Italy.
While Sherlock Holmes has become a commonplace, many of Conan Doyle’s other literary creations have been sidelined. Here, Conan Doyle’s biographer, the distinguished historian Owen Dudley Edwards speaks about Doyle’s historical fiction.
The acclaimed author of The Poison Tide and To Kill a Tsar talks about the challenge of making fiction from recent historic events and his fascination with the secret intelligence service during the Great War.
Why do novelists use historical subjects – beyond just mining a wealth of good stories? What other agendas are there? How far might these include the righting of long-gone colonial wrongs and long-forgotten social injustices?
Patrick Mercer, ex soldier, MP, military historian and historical novelist (To Do and Die, Dust and Steel, Red runs the Helmand) talks about his fascination for the period and how he and others, notably Macdonald Fraser, have managed to translate it into literature.
Two writers discuss the legitimacy of using previous fictional characters in new work.
James Benmore is the author of Dodger, a novel which deals with what happened next to the Artful Dodger after he was sentenced to seven years transportation.
Same event, different stories: Two versions of the same historical events in the battle of France of 1940-1941 as told by a novelist and a historian set against our changing perceptions of the reality of the Battle of France and Dunkirk.
The classic black and white movie starring John Mills, Richard Attenborough and a host of others.
Documentary-style film which tells two sides of the Dunkirk story. A British corporal (John Mills) finds himself responsible for getting his men back to Britain from the Dunkirk beaches, after their officer is killed and they are separated from the main allied forces.
What is the true value of historical fiction. Is it a vital way into understanding history or is it merely meddling with the truth?
A group discussion with speakers from the festival, invited academics and audience members.
Acclaimed author, Celia Rees, will be talking about her interest in all things historical from the fantastic and macabre to the everyday detail of ordinary people’s lives. She will be revealing the sources of her inspiration and why she thinks Historical Fiction is relevant to young readers today.
In association with the Francis Kyle Gallery, London, we are pleased to present an exhibition of watercolours of libraries and archives by the acclaimed painter Hugh Buchanan. The exhibition, which ranges from the great country houses and universities to lesser known French and Austrian collections will run concurrently with the festival and beyond.