Writing non-fiction

 

Meeting: Wednesday 31 October 2012
6.30 pm, networking and nibbles from 6.00 pm
Venue: ANU Emeritus Faculty, Building 1c/24 Balmain Crescent, Acton
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Paul Collins is a freelance writer and historian, living in Canberra. The author of thirteen books, Paul’s presentation about writing non-fiction will focus on two very different non-fiction books he has written: Burn. The Epic Story of Bushfire in Australia (Allen & Unwin 2006, reprinted by Scribe in 2009) and The Birth of the West, the book he’s just finished (to be published by Public Affairs in New York and Bloomsbury in the UK and Australia in February next year). The Birth of the West describes Europe in the tenth century AD, the so-called ‘dark ages’, and argues that this is time in which our present Western culture was born.

Both books required extensive research over a number of years, research carried out almost entirely in Canberra using material at the National Library and the libraries of the ANU, as well as a discriminating use of the internet.

Paul’s presentation will also emphasise the importance of visiting and understanding the
places and landscapes described in this type of non-fiction writing. To paraphrase Manning
Clark, you can’t write history without knowing the places where it happened.