Historical Fiction

Gail Carson Levine, best known for Ella Enchanted, a novel that won a Newbery honor in 1998 and was made into a motion picture in 2004, has written 24 books for children. Her first historical novel, Dave at Night, takes place in 1926, is loosely based on her father’s childhood in the Hebrew Orphan Asylum in New York. She is currently working on a historical novel that reaches into her ancestors’ distant past, to the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492. She will talk about this novel (due for publication for older children in 2019) about a 15th Century Refugee Crisis, what brought it about, and the genesis of European anti-semitism.

Writing the Past, Weaving Fact and Fiction
We’ll look at resources for non-historians (and the tricks and secrets!), ponder what draws a writer to the past, what’s called for to address it, and why it may be easier (in one way at least) than writing other genres. We’ll consider questions like, How much time has passed? What’s known and who knows it? Why fiction? Where do we focus? What are the known biases? What are our biases? Who has the right to write history? Whose history? What are the ethics? Is the writer of historical fiction entitled to an opinion? Should we slant it? Can we avoid slanting it? How faithful is it possible to be? Participants should come prepared to consider and write notes about eras and figures they’re drawn to. If you have a smart phone or a laptop, bring it!