Monday, 14 November 2011

Are you sitting comfortably..?

Then I'll begin. (But before I do, I want you to get that thought about comfort, sitting and a well-whipped bottom out of your grubby little mind). What's history and what's historical fiction? The line is being blurred, says leading historian and fiction author Alison Weir.
I've just been listening to a fascinating discussion about writing history on BBC Radio 4 and thought Weir's contribution was spot on. She talked about the line between history and historical fiction (in books and on film) and how it is becoming dangerously blurred.
Her latest non-fiction work Mary Boleyn: 'The Great and Infamous Whore' tells the story of Anne Boleyn's sister. There's little fact to go on when it comes to Mary's life, says Weir, but her story has been spun and re-spun by so many historical novelists that the truth was been all but smothered.
Maybe historical fiction writers should put 'health warnings' on their work. Something to make it clear that what they're offering isn't a history lesson, but a fireside story.

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