Explore the 2024 Program

Remarkable histories at the Festival

In A Defence of Poetry, Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote, "History is a cyclic poem written by time upon the memories of man." History is a funny force that ebbs and flows, fades and rears up again. It can feel both ever-present and in the distant past.

In the 2024 Festival Program, we have a range of writers engaging with history as family heirloom, as scholarly subject and as an imaginative setting. Whether you prefer straight facts or creative interpretation, these writers present varying ways of playing with history for education and entertainment.

Family histories

The first histories we ever encounter are our own and the many interconnected lives that combined to make ours. These family histories span some of the darkest times including war and displacement. But reflection breeds understanding, for the writers and for us.

Social histories

There are many different lenses through which you can look at history whether through agriculture, industrialisation or the more intimate habits of humans. These writers take wide and narrow approaches to charting change through history in order to understand ourselves better today.

Historical fiction

Historical fiction is an overall more imaginative approach to history, taking the reader directly into the past to experience it themselves. There's nothing quite like the sympathy developed between reader and character when placed in such close proximity as a novel.

Dive deep into the history books with these true and nearly true stories of lives and legacies from the past.

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