Need for Fiction

In this first 2017 Reith Lecture, Hilary Mantel explains how the historical novelist constructs the inner mind of dead people so that we can understand better what they stood for. This appears to be necessary. bbc

Evidence is always partial. Facts are not truth, though they are part of it. Information is not knowledge. And history is not the past. pdf

History is the method we have evolved of organizing our ignorance of the past. It’s the record of what’s left on the record. It’s the plan of the positions taken, when we to stop the dance to note them down.

Historical novelists face – as they should - questions about whether their work is legitimate. No other sort of writer has to explain their trade so often.

It’s not possible to lay down a rule or a standard of good practice, because there are so many types of historical fiction. Some have the feel of documentary, others are close to fantasy. Not every author concerns herself with real people and real events.


Mike Caulfield writes, That moment when the facts slot into a narrative eventually comes for everyone. It has to; we’re human and what we want is meaning. But I’m interested in delaying its arrival, if only for a little bit. And in the process construct some narratives that are a bit less tidy and a bit more useful. post

Noah Richler traces the development of storytelling from the earliest creation myths through to today's online gaming and the recording of our personal lives by way of social media. See Short History of Story

Bob Dylan reaches back to his grammar school reading to find the deepest roots in his lyrics in the classics he read then. See Bob Dylan Lectures

I wrote notes as the camera crew was setting up. There are so many versions of the story. Only under pressure could I find a fresh angle. See Creative History of Wiki