Telling Histories

Recorded on date : November 30, 2020

Edward Said wrote, ‘All knowledge that is about human society, and not about the natural world, is historical knowledge, and therefore rests upon judgment and interpretation.’

How do writers take on the limitations of history and knowledge in historical fiction? Who gets to voice our histories? As the RSL celebrates its 200th year, Sara Collins and Frannie Langton discuss the complexities of inhabiting other voices and what it means to restore incomplete historical narratives. In Sara Collins’ Costa First Novel Award-winning The Confessions of Frannie Langton, a Jamaican girl tells her story of love, violence and power in 1826 London. In his Wellcome Prize-winning Murmur, Will Eaves gives voice to Alan Turing’s inner life, exploring the very nature of consciousness. Their discussion is chaired by broadcaster and writer Aida Edemariam, whose first book, The Wife’s Tale, won both an RSL Jerwood Award and the RSL Ondaatje Prize.

We are grateful to the Royal Literary Fund for sponsoring this event.

More from Awards and Prizes

Sky Arts RSL Writers Awards

Companions of Literature

RSL International Writers

Become a Member

Our Members are champions of literature. Their support makes our engagement work in schools and prisons possible and they enable us to celebrate literature in all its wonderful diversity. As a thank you, we give them all the joys of a literary festival and book club rolled into one, all year round.