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The History in the Fiction

October 12, 2019 @ 3:30 pm - 6:00 pm


Peter Cochrane: The trades of history and fiction are, as Alex Miller notes, ‘complementary in their civilising project’, but the craft in each case, the respective method, sets them miles apart. Thus, when I wrote my first full-length novel, The Making of Martin Sparrow (Penguin/Viking 2018), the early drafts were an apprenticeship of sorts, a rite-of-passage to a method and a sensibility, a way of imagining that was foreign to me, the historian. So, what did I learn? In this talk I will discuss the way the story evolved, Sparrow’s journey, and link it to a comparative discussion of the practices of writing history and writing fiction. 

Peter Cochrane is an historian, essayist and novelist based in Sydney. His most recent work of fiction is The Making of Martin Sparrow (Penguin/Viking 2018). The Italian edition was published in March this year under the title La Grande Occasione di Martin Sparrow (Jimenez Edizione 2019). His non-fiction includes Colonial Ambition: Foundations of Australian Democracy, which won the Age Book of the Year and the Prime Minister’s History Prize, and most recently Best We Forget. The War for White Australia, 1914-18 (Text Publishing 2018).

Julian Leatherdale worked on Time-Life’s Australians At War series and later researched and co-wrote Film Australia-ABC TV documentaries Return to Sandakan and The Forgotten Force. His novels are Palace of Tears (A&U, 2015/HarperCollins Germany, 2016), The Opal Dragonfly, (A&U, 2018) and Death in the Bacchae Club (A&U, 2020). He writes plays and his YA novel The Phantasmic Detective Agency will also be published in 2020.

Held in the Blackheath Public School Hall on the corner of Great Western Highway and Leichhardt Street

Doors open at 3.30, talks start at 4.00, followed by a Q&A which generally ends around 6.00. Admission is $5 (free to those 18 and under). Refreshments are available from 3.30 for a small additional charge of $2 to $5.

For details of the full 2019 program click here.


October 12, 2019
3:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Event Category:


Blackheath History Forum


Blackheath Public School Hall
Leichhardt St
Blackheath, NSW 2785 Australia
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