What is the creative interplay between research and writing a novel? Do you research before you write? Or can you write and research simultaneously? When do you know you’ve completed enough research to fictionalize a specific world and time period? Whether you’re writing historical or contemporary fiction, often a significant amount of research can go into imagined characters and landscapes. How much do you need to know in order to set your characters into motion on the page? This workshop will answer these questions and offer strategies for fiction writers of different levels.
Based on her experience of writing her debut novel, The Elephant of Belfast, S. Kirk Walsh will share her process of researching and writing this novel, which included travel to Belfast, interviewing Blitz survivors, research with the elephants at the Houston Zoo, and working with a historian who specialized in this time period and place. She will share documents, artifacts, and historical photographs that inspired the writing of The Elephant of Belfast.
S. Kirk Walsh is a novelist, editor, and teacher based in Austin, Texas. Her national bestselling novel, The Elephant of Belfast—inspired by true events that took place in Belfast, Northern Ireland, during World War II—was published by Counterpoint Press in April 2021. The novel has generated praise from The New Yorker, The Christian Science Monitor, and other publications as well as being selected for several top reading lists. The Elephant of Belfast was also published by Hodder/Hachette (the UK, the Commonwealth, and Ireland) and has been translated for foreign editions in Norway and Iran. Walsh is now working on a second novel inspired by events that occurred in Detroit during the 1940s. She is the founder of Austin Bat Cave, a writing center for young writers in Austin.
Included in your festival pass, or $25 single entry