by Braz Menezes

Why historical fiction needs daring and anachronism

At the beginning of this year, I was intrigued by Ruth Scurr’s John Aubrey: My Own Life, a biography of a biographer that challenged the conservatism of biography. I spent some time wondering what other avant-garde biographies might look like — the circadian biography, with the life told through one day; the inanimate biography of a life told through possessions; the parallel biography, with each significant incident narrated from opposing viewpoints. Halfway through the year, and the announcement of the winner of the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction makes me wonder if that genre needs some experimental irrigation as well.

Questions of definition in genre are notoriously difficult, and any writer worth their onions will probably chafe at their strictures and stretch at their edges — see the reaction to Ishiguro or Mitchell employing elements of fantasy in their recent work.

Read the full article on The Guardian.