Date: June 28, 2022

Time: 6.30 pm - 8.30 pm

Duration: 4 weeks

Level: Beginner | Emerging |

Cost: €120 (€108 Members)

All Irish Writers Centre remote courses take place on Irish Standard Time.

Course Summary

History and historical nonfiction is an enduringly popular genre. It includes everything from ancient times to near current events, ranging across biography, society, culture, politics, art and war, as well as life writing and memoir. This course is a complete introduction to how to research, write and market historical nonfiction, breaking what can seem like an overwhelming project down into manageable tasks. It teaches essential skills to bring your story alive and help it reach an audience.



Course Outline

The four sessions will focus on four essential stages of writing historical nonfiction:


  1. Storytelling: The principles of how to find and tell a historical story that audiences will want to read.
  2. Research: How to plan, organise and carry out the detailed research you need in order to write historical stories.
  3. Writing: How to turn your research into a compelling manuscript that will engage readers.
  4. Marketing and career: An overview of the nonfiction industry, including how to find and approach agents and publishers, and how to find an audience for your work.


Participants will be expected to come up with an idea and begin to shape it over the four weeks of the course. This will include some work in their own time on ideas to bring to class for discussion. Participants who already have a work of historical nonfiction in progress are very welcome and there will be opportunities for feedback on their work. Participants who have not yet put pen to paper will be inspired to start!

Course Outcomes

This course aims to explain and demystify the process of researching and writing historical nonfiction, giving participants a full toolkit and the confidence to embark upon their own work. You will gain a broad overview of the complete process from idea to sale and even beyond, to building a career. You will develop your research and storytelling skills with a fuller understanding of what audiences want and how to reach them.


Alex von Tunzelmann is a historian and screenwriter with a strong interest in historical stories and how they are told. She has written five books of historical nonfiction including the international bestseller Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire. Her most recent book, Fallen Idols: Twelve Statues That Made History, has been shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize 2022.