Writing history – creative ways to present the past at Waikato

17 September 2015

Stephanie Johnson
NZ author, Stephanie Johnson, to teach historical fiction course at the University of Waikato this November.

Waikato University's History and Writing Studies students will learn from the best with best-selling author Stephanie Johnson as their teacher this November.

The New Zealand writer, whose most recent historical novel The Open World (2012) was a best-seller, will teach 'Writing Historical Fiction', a course being offered by Waikato's Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences this November.

Known also for her poetry, plays and short stories, Johnson has taught writing courses for various institutions including the University of Auckland, AUT, Unitec, and now Waikato.

"The course offers an introduction to the much-loved genre of historical fiction and employs the methodology of historical research, considering the challenges of integrating 'fact' with 'fiction' (and vice versa)," she says.

"I'm really looking forward to taking students through this unique writing journey," she says.

Johnson has published nine novels, three of them historical. She is a past winner of the Montana Book Award (for The Shag Incident), the Katherine Mansfield Fellowship in Menton and the Bruce Mason Memorial Playwright's Award.

She also held the University of Auckland writers' residency and several of her novels have been long-listed for the Impac Awards in Dublin. With Peter Wells, Johnson founded the highly successful Auckland Writers and Readers Festival in 1998. Johnson's most recent works, The Writing Class (2013) and The Writers Festival (2015), both published by Random House NZ, have attracted positive attention at recent Auckland Writers' Festival sessions.

Writing Historical Fiction examines how historical research relates to and can work profitably with the creative imagination. It will cover narrative and style and the contexts in which historical fiction is written. It will also offer the opportunity for students to develop historical research skills and how these skills can be practically applied, and a discussion of the publishing industry.

The course is being offered as part of the University of Waikato's Summer School T Semester which runs from Monday 9 November to Friday 18 December.