Plagues, Witches and War: The Worlds of Historical Fiction

I’m taking a  MOOCs (Massive Open On-line Course) course  through Coursera  which is an education company that managers university courses offered online for free.

I’m currently doing one called Plagues, Witches & War; The World’s of Historical Fiction and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in Historical Fiction.  The official web page describes it as;

A unique and exciting introduction to the genre and craft of historical fiction, for curious students, aspiring authors–anyone with a passion for the past. Read classics of the genre, encounter bestselling writers of historical fiction, and discover your own historical archive while interacting with a global community of interested readers.  

Its been incredible so far and we are only two weeks into the 8 weeks of the course.  The reading list is extensive, much of which will have to wait until after the course is over to read in full because there just isn’t time to fit it all in.

There are five visiting authors that will deliver guest  lectures and allow some time for interaction with the group.  Although given the massive size of the class I suspect very few will get any real interaction,  but we will hear their thoughts on their research methods and the issues they face as Historical Fiction writers.   was delighted when I saw that Geraldine Brooks was on the list as I love her books and read the one on the reading list a few years ago.

Our Prof , Bruce Holsinger, is from the University of Virginia and he is great.  He get’s involved in the forums and you often find interesting posts from him.  The forums are extensive and very interesting.  There have been some amazing on-going conversations on a huge array of topics and it really is dangerous because you get so hooked into the conversation you suddenly realise its 5 am and you really need some sleep!

One of the enterprising ladies in the class set up a Facebook page and we have been adding to the forums chat with an an amazingly active FB one too.  Many of the people taking the course are already published Historical Fiction writers and they have been incredibly kind and generous in the information and support they are offering to those looking to write, or publish, for the first time.  I really enjoy reading what they have to say.

I am not looking to either write, or publish, I am merely taking the course for personal interest and to learn more about the genre, but I am so glad I chose this course.  I have  ‘meet’ with some wonderfully interesting people and been able to share in some really in-depth conversations. Its been a great experience so far and there are another 6 weeks to go.

21 Oct 2013

I will update this page as the course progresses …

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