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Bringing a historical figure to life in fiction is a little like biography, a little like heresy, and a little like witchcraft. It requires research as food for the imagination, but as fiction writers, we have to be in pursuit of details that biographers typically can’t use—and don’t mention. We’ll cover a variety of these methods, a research-based approach that makes appeals to the intuition and the imagination and teaches writers to look around corners for what they need.
Alexander Chee won a Whiting Award for his first novel,
Edinburgh, and is a recipient of the NEA fellowship in fiction
and residencies from the MacDowell Colony, Ledig House, and
Civitella Ranieri. His writing has appeared in the New York Times
Book Review, Tin House, Slate, and on NPR. His new book is The
Queen of the Night (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).