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Unlocking the archives to write the people’s history

GENRE: Non-Fiction & Life Writing
Totleigh Barton

This course is suitable for writers who already have a creative non-fiction project in mind (a local history, social history, biography, travelogue) and would like some advice and encouragement. It examines ways in which the UK’s rich archival holdings can suggest new stories and angles; and it aims to open up pathways of research that seem to be blocked. We will explore a variety of research methods and creative writing techniques including: archival research, photography, walking, oral history and archaeological remains, all of which can be used to create exciting and moving narratives.


On Tuesday May 10th Sarah Wise will take over Arvon’s Twitter account to answer questions, give tips and engage in conversation on non-fiction writing.

Date: Tuesday May 10th 2016

Time: 2pm – 3pm

How to participate: Tweet your questions at @arvonfoundation AND use the #Tutortakeover hashtag. Sarah Wise will answer your questions about (almost) anything!

A few ideas to spark off conversation might be:

  • Historical non-fiction writing
  • Archival research for writing projects
  • Possible research methods including walking, archaeology, photography and oral history
  • Writing about less explored social groups in history
  • How to Crack a city’s history
  • How to make historical characters come to life

Single room price: £750
Shared room price: £700

Grants are available to help with the course fee
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