The Book Show S5 #12 Nuala O'Connor Historical Fiction by The Book Show RTE Radio 1 published on 2018-10-21T18:29:20Z On this week’s Book Show Nuala O’Connor (Becoming Belle, Miss Emily) takes a look at historical fiction. She’s joined in studio by Paul Lynch and Niamh Boyce. Paul’s novel Grace is set in Famine era Ireland and tells the story of a young girl, Grace, who is forced to leave her home and travel through Ireland alone and at a very dangerous time. Niamh Boyce’s next novel Her Kind is the story of a witchcraft trial in 15th century Kilkenny. It’s a dark story about a trial that was brought against Alice Ketyl and her maid Petronella. While discussing their work with Nuala the panel also looks at a number of issues related to the genre of historical fiction. How authentic to the period does a writer have to be, for example? Should they use the language familiar to the a modern ear or imitate the language of the past? Does historical fiction continue to suffer from an image problem and if so, why? Also, the contemporary is never far from the interpretation of the past. The historical past is often judged by our present and when history has failed some of us then writing the past can be a way to correct this. The writer Andrew Miller joins Nuala over the line from Bath to discuss his latest novel Now We Shall Be Entirely Free. It’s set in the Napoleonic era and is the story of Capt. John Lacroix who has returned to England after a bruising campaign abroad. His plan is to recover at home and then travel north to Scotland but this doesn’t go quite to plan. Andrew talks about his book and how the sea has always been an influence on his writing and how while he can be fastidious about certain historical details, he likes to remain playful. Ultimately, he says, writing is writing regardless of whether it’s set in the past or not.