Something Old, Something New: Writing Historical Fiction

Hazel Gaynor

Saturday 13th October 2018
Time: TBC
Venue: TBC
About This Course​

Historical novels are having a moment. From the Women’s Prize shortlist to celebrity book clubs and the top of the broadsheet bestseller lists, readers are clearly rediscovering the joy of fiction set in the past. Led by internationally bestselling historical novelist Hazel Gaynor (The Girl Who Came Home, The Cottingley Secret), this inspiring, practical and informative workshop will show you how to explore the past to write great fiction. The workshop will focus on the importance of historical authenticity, balancing fact and fiction, how to find inspiration in real historical events, developing historical characters, and managing historical research. The workshop will also look at finding time to write, and establishing a realistic writing routine.


Who is this course suitable for?
  • Anyone currently writing, or who would like to write, a novel with a historical premise

  • Anyone interested in writing historical fiction but not sure how to engage with events/people from the past

  • Anyone writing contemporary fiction and has an idea for a story set in the past

What do I need to bring?


Enthusiasm and imagination!

We Like


  • A lively and inspiring combination of teaching, practical exercises and discussion.

  • Attendees will leave with lots of practical writing advice and handouts.

  • Attendees will leave with a plan for an original piece of historical fiction.


Praise for Hazel

‘Amazing, Hazel was so engaging and full of great ideas and information. Really enjoyed this course.’  

Aaron Morris


‘I learned so much. Hazel is a fantastic facilitator and I feel invigorated and raring to go.’

Carmel Kelly


‘It was just brilliant listening to Hazel talking about the writing process.’ 

Cynthia Lewis-Jones

Hazel's Advice

“You say you don’t have time to write. I say I don’t believe you!"

Hazel's Story

Hazel Gaynor is an acclaimed New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author. Her writing career began at the kitchen table following redundancy in 2009, and she has written everywhere from the rugby sidelines to doctor’s waiting rooms since. Before stretching her literary wings, Hazel was a Training and Development Manager for professional services firms in London, Sydney and Dublin.

Her debut novel THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME was an instant New York Times bestseller and won the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award. Her second novel, A MEMORY OF VIOLETS was a WHSmith Fresh Talent pick and her third novel, THE GIRL FROM THE SAVOY, was shortlisted for the 2016 Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. All her books continue to hit bestseller lists internationally, and are translated into eight foreign languages to date. In 2017, Hazel published  LAST CHRISTMAS IN PARIS (co-written with Heather Webb) and THE COTTINGLEY SECRET, which went on to become a USA Today bestseller. In September 2018 she will release her fifth historical novel, THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S DAUGHTER, inspired by Victorian heroine, Grace Darling.

Hazel has written extensively for publications on both sides of the Atlantic, including TIME Magazine, The Irish Times, Writer’s Digest, and the Huffington Post. Her media appearances include The Ryan Tubridy Show, Elaine, Morning Ireland and the BBC World Service. She is a popular speaker at literary festivals in Ireland and the UK, appearing at the Historical Novelist’s Society Conference, Kildare Readers’ Festival, Waterford Writers’ Festival and the Dublin International Literary Festival, among others. She has also taught creative writing at a number of schools and is a proud co-founder of creative writing retreats The Inspiration Project. Hazel lives in County Kildare with her husband and two children. Her claim to fame is John Cleese tweeting how much his wife loved Hazel’s book!

Photos by John Fahy ( & Richard Johnston. Privacy Policy.

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