Speaker puts historical fiction in perspective
The Ka¯ piti Historical Society’s July talk looks at how history is portrayed in fiction. Desiree Jury will speak on “Aspects of the Historical Novel” which was the basis of her PhD thesis. “For some people reading fiction books set in the past is the way they get much of their knowledge of history,” the society’s Roger Childs said. “Most professional historians don’t take historical novels too seriously, because inevitably poetic licence is taken and the credibility of what is portrayed might be suspect. “However, some Tudor historians have praised Hilary Mantel for her scholarship in the trilogy of novels on Thomas Cromwell which won her two Booker Prizes. “Desiree will cover history and myth in the modern English historical novel and look at some modern writers who have set the standards. “She will also examine aspects of this genre such as narrative focus, the place of necessary anachronisms, style, and the importance of selecting a credible storyteller. “She will also provide a quick tour of some of the great books which have stood the test of time and make recommendations of good novels and authors to get into. “Not surprisingly, Desiree has written her own historical novel — Two Shadows — which has a postNapoleonic Wars context and settings in England and Australia.” Looking ahead, the society has Professor Mark Dickson speaking on the history of the Ka¯piti coastline, John Robinson talking on the colourful Northland chief Hone Heke, and David Hadfield on his father Barry, who was the first mayor of the Ka¯piti district. Former prime minister Jim Bolger will round off the 2021 programme.