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History Now: creative non-fiction history for children

History Now: creative non-fiction history for children

History Now

Paul Ashton and Sarah Luke will speak about the teaching and writing of creative non-fiction and historical fiction for children.

black and white photography of children seated in a classroom
5 / 5 events in this History Now series
1 November 2023 5pm to 6pm


General Admission: Free


Maps Room, First Floor
Mitchell Building
Sydney NSW 2000


The relationship between creative non-fiction and historical fiction is a close one, with both bringing joy to readers and writers alike. These literary twins exploit the silences in the historical record, often giving voices to the marginalised with a little more, or a little less, fiction to bridge the gaps. But how much value do these text types have in the teaching of History and English in the classroom? Sarah asks: are they ‘real’ history, or just stories which give a passing nod to ‘the facts’?

Paul Ashton will talk about the role of serendipity in writing creative-non-fiction for children.

Paul Ashton is co-founder and Adjunct professor at the Australian Centre for Public History at the University of Technology Sydney. His numerous publications include Palmer’s Mystery Hikes (a creative non-fiction history for young people) and If It’s Not True it Should Be: Writing Creative non-fiction History (both published by Halstead Press).

Sarah Luke is a teacher and author. Her first book, Callan Park, Hospital for the Insane (2018), was shortlisted for the 2019 NSW Premier’s History Awards. Her second book, Like a Wicked Noah’s Ark: The Nautical School Ships Vernon & Sobraon was published in 2020. She is currently working on a middle grade historical fiction novel, and researching the life of Dr Frederic Norton Manning, NSW’s first Inspector General of the Insane.

Matthew Richardson (Chair) publisher at Halstead Press, is an author and history editor whose previous books include The Penguin Book of Firsts, The Halstead Treasury of Ancient Science Fiction, Imagination, War in Words and Once a Jolly Swagman. Originally from Canberra, he practised briefly as a lawyer in Sydney. He lives with his family in the Blue Mountains and works as the publisher for Halstead Press. A fellowship with the State Library of Victoria enabled him to pursue his interest in exploration and maps, and to research his book The West and the Map of the World.


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