April 25, 2011
By Elisabeth Grant
Historical accuracy is a hot topic when judging both historical films and historical fiction. And so it’s not surprising that “How important is historical accuracy to you in writing historical fiction?” was the first question posted to panelists at session 156, “History and Fiction: Creative Intersections,” from the AHA’s 125th Annual Meeting in Boston, which took place earlier this year.
Today we look back at video from the session, which included these speakers: historian Jane Kamensky, who co-authored the novel Blindspot with Jill Lepore; author Geraldine Brooks, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 2006 for her book March (which tells the story of “the character of the absent father…who has gone off to war,” in Little Women); Donald Ostrowski, a historian of medieval Russia and a teacher who uses fiction and film in class; Joan Neuberger, a historian of Soviet film; and Peter Ho Davies, whose most recent book The Welsh Girl, creates a story about a “WWII POW camp built by the British in the remote mountains of northern Wales and Esther.”
The video from this session has been parsed into 8 sections, each 10 to 15 minutes long. In this first clip, after about 4 and a half minutes of introductions (each panelist had many notable publications and achievements), session chair Joan Neuberger posed the question mentioned above:
“How important is historical accuracy to you in writing historical fiction?”