History and fiction

Tuesday, August 28, 2018 at 06:00 PM


Old Treasury Building
20 Spring St
East Melbourne, Victoria 3002
Google map and directions

Event contact

Margaret Birtley

0418 814 957

This seminar probes the boundaries and relationship between history and fiction through the eyes of three practitioners. History is never completely knowable: does this mean reasonable speculation is an essential tool of historical work? Academic historians have long been encouraged to engage their imaginations in reconstructing and understanding the past. Does this differ from the work of historical fiction? If so how? Are they simply complementary approaches to grasping the truths of past human societies? How do writers of historical fiction conceptualise and perform their work of researching and creating characters, explaining events, and weaving narratives? We will hear from three accomplished authors working across different historical periods and places, and using different literary forms:

Dr Linda Weste is an award-winning poet and author, and tutor in the Creative Writing Program at The University of Melbourne. Her book Nothing Sacred: A novel in verse, explores late Republican Rome.

Dr Kelly Gardiner is a writer of historical fiction for readers all ages, and lecturer in creative writing at La Trobe University. Her works traverse many periods and settings, ranging from the WWI fields of Flanders in 1917, her most recent book for young readers, to the world of 17th-century opera in Goddess.

Dr Ali Alidazeh is an accomplished author of both fiction and non-fiction, and a lecturer in literary theory and creative writing at Monash University. His most recent novel, The Last Days of Jeanne d’Arc, was published in 2017.

The seminar will be convened by Dr Kathleen Neal who lectures in history at Monash University and is a member of the Board of the History Council of Victoria.

The audience at this seminar will have the opportunity to present their own insights and to ask questions of the panellists.

Please book your seat at this free event by clicking the RSVP button at the foot of this page. If you see a "Sold Out" button, you can join the wait-list by sending an email to [email protected]

With thanks to the series sponsors, Monash University Publishing and the Monash University History Program:

Monash University Publishing   Monash University History Program 

and the organising partners:

Old Treasury Building     Monash University History Program      HCV

The seminar is part of an ongoing series, Making Public Histories, that is offered jointly by the Monash University History Program, the History Council of Victoria and the Old Treasury Building. Each seminar aims to explore issues and approaches in making public histories. The seminars are open, free of charge, to anyone interested in the creation and impact of history in contemporary society. Click HERE to learn about other events in the series.

Posted by on ,

Will you come?


The History Council of Victoria Incorporated (HCV) is the peak body for history in the Australian state of Victoria. Its vision is to connect Victorians with history and to inspire engagement with the past, their identity and the world today. The HCV champions the work of historians and the value of history. It recognises that history can be written about any place, any person, any period. The HCV advocates why history matters.

Read More


Our calendar lists all upcoming public events arranged by the History Council of Victoria (HCV), plus events in Victoria, Australia, that are added by our Friends and Members.

If you are organising an event that relates to History, we encourage you to publicise it on our website.

Read More


As the peak body for history in Victoria, the History Council makes submissions on current issues. In doing this, the HCV Board is guided by its Advocacy Policy and by the Value of History, a statement developed co-operatively by the HCV and the History Councils of New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia.

Read More


Since 2015, the HCV has been pleased to sponsor the Years 9 and 10 category of the Historical Fiction Competition organised by the History Teachers' Association of Victoria.

Read More


Ways to support us:

Subscribe to our free newsletter: https://www.historycouncilvic.org.au/subscribe
Endorse the Value of History statement: https://www.historycouncilvic.org.au/endorse
Find us on socials: Twitter / Facebook / YouTube

Read More



The HCV was formed as an advisory body in 2001 and incorporated in 2003. It comprises representatives from cultural and educational institutions and heritage bodies; history teachers and curriculum advisors; academic and professional historians; and local, Indigenous, community and specialist history organisations.

As the peak body for history, the HCV has both ‘outward-looking’ roles (including advocacy and representation to government and the wider community, consultation, community education, and networking with allied interest groups) and ‘inward-looking’ roles (including member support, information dissemination, and networking between members).





Image acknowledgements to go here.