Writing History , Part 1: Writing for Readers in the 21st Century—For Love, Money, and Applause

AHA Session 27
Thursday, January 5, 2017: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Mile High Ballroom 3B (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)
Rachel Toor, Eastern Washington University
Timothy Bent, Oxford University Press
Alane Mason, W. W. Norton & Company
Jennifer Ruark, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Alex Star, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Wendy J. Strothman, Strothman Agency, LLC

Session Abstract

Does the age of self-reflection, 140-character tweets, and vigorous social networking require writing history in new forms with new narrative voices? This panel will feature two leading editors, an agent, a publisher, and a creative non-fiction writer who will offer models on history writing that engages wider audiences. Starting from the assumption that there’s a ready market for good books on serious historical topics, they will discuss how writers hook readers from the first pages and how they create a narrative arc that builds an argument in a compelling and enjoyable way. Is there a format that flows from the history you are writing? What are tricks and what are essential tools for historian-writers? What kind of prose turns readers away and what keeps them reading? These questions will be the focus of this panel.
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