Lessons from Historical Fiction (Afternoon)​

with Priya Parmar


This class is an exceptional opportunity both for writers of historical fiction to hone their craft, and for writers of other genres to apply the insights from historical fiction to bring verisimilitude to their own characters. It is designed for writers at all levels of accomplishment.

Historical fiction presents unique challenges. It is neither biography nor pure fiction. Subjects’ lives must be meticulously researched, and the knowledge gained has to inspire rather than merely be reported upon. Achieving a distinctive voice for each character is nowhere more important than in historical fiction. Each must come alive on the page with authenticity, remaining always true to their personality. Priya and Jane will inspire their students with accounts of their fascination in immersing themselves in the lives of real people, and extrapolating narratives as plausible as if they were purely factual.

Historical fiction presents its own challenges of point of view, character development, and story arc. Priya deals with these issues in a unique way. You will learn not merely to imitate Priya, but to adapt the lessons she  has learned to tell your story in the way that rings most true to you and your characters.


4 Afternoons:  Monday 11/11–Thursday 11/14 | 1:30-4:30pm


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Priya Parmar’s novel, Vanessa and Her Sister was recently chosen as a New York Times Book Review ‘Editor’s Choice’ selection, an Entertainment Weekly ‘Must List’ pick, a People Magazine ‘Book of the Week’, and as an editor’s pick for: O Magazine, Oprah.com, Vanity Fair, Elle Magazine, New York Magazine, Christian Science Monitor, US Weekly and USA Today and Priya was chosen for the Barnes and Noble ‘Discover Great New Writers’ 2015 program. She is the author of one previous novel, Exit the Actress. Priya is also the co-author of the wildly successful musical Sylvia, which debuted last year at London’s Old Vic theater. Priya divides her time between Kauai and London.