de Matos, C. M. (2015). Fictorians: historians who 'lie' about the past, and like it. TEXT: Journal of Writing and Writing Programs, 28.
Debates about history and fiction tend to pitch novelist against historian in a battle over who owns or best represents the past. This article posits that things are not quite so dichotomous: novelists write non-fiction histories, and historians even sometimes write novels. In fact, these latter seem, anecdotally, to be increasing in number in recent decades. The author approached some of these historians to find out why they have turned to writing fictionalised versions of the past to complement, or sometimes replace, their non-fiction publications. For the sake of clarity, in the article I have playfully dubbed the historians who write historical fiction as ‘fictorians’. The article considers their responses within wider discussions about history and fiction, and reflects briefly upon the meaning of this ‘fictional turn’ for the future of the history discipline.
historians, fiction, history, history writing