Kate Mosse Masterclass at Manchester Literature Festival - Review

Kate Mosse Masterclass at Manchester Literature Festival - Review

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Posted 2023-10-12 by Helen Clarkefollow

Sat 07 Oct 2023




International bestselling author of ten novels Kate Mosse, kicks off Manchester Literature Festival with a masterclass on writing historical fiction.

This lecture offered budding Mancunian writers the chance to learn from a writing expert and to take some hard-earned knowledge with them into their own writing. In a packed room Kate explored the importance of accuracy when it comes to research and dialogue, and why writers must commit to writing every day.

The masterclass marks the start of Manchester Literature Festival which runs from 7th - 22nd October with plenty of chances to hear from writers, speakers and thought leaders from the literature world. Whether you’re a writer yourself, a literature fiend or interested in culture more broadly, there will be an event for you.

During the class, Kate offered sound advice to the writers in the room including the need to separate one's writing from the editing process. She told attendees that “A lot of writers are disappointed in what they write” but that they should "Keep going. Until you have a first draft you don’t know what your book is. Nothing ever written in a published book is the state it came out in.”

She emphasised the reality of the writer’s journey by telling the room "The only difference between me and you is that I’m published” further commenting that “every new book is an opportunity to fail”. This was well received by the room who asked several questions about how they could perfect their own writing and ensure their dialogue was realistic. The advice from Kate made the journey from aspiring writer to published author seem achievable, especially when it comes to historical fiction.



Kate offered insight into her own research process and urged writers looking to publish historical fiction to "Go into archives and look at people’s wills to find out what was valuable to them at the time.” She then told a story of diving into wills, visiting archives and travelling to the places in which her novels take place to ensure historical accuracy. It was very clear how highly she values the readers of her books, and how seriously she takes the need to write places and events as they happened. For those looking to start a historical fiction novel in the room, there was a sense that this was possible. That if they listened to the practical advice given they would be well on their way.

The closing message was clear. Write every day. No matter what the topic. Kate said it could be as simple as writing the description of the steam coming out of your kettle while you’re waiting for it to boil. And why? Because "You don’t have to write your book every day. Write something every day so it is less intimidating when you come to write the thing that’s important to you.”

Speaking with Kate Mosse after the event we asked her why she chose to speak at the Manchester Literature Festival, to which she gave a very positive response. "I love Manchester a lot, I recently had my one woman show at the Lowry and Manchester has such a brilliant mix of established writers, and a lot of people who are just starting out in their career as you heard today. I always come to Manchester whenever I am invited.”

On the question of whether writing can ever in fact be taught, she commented, "I think all of the arts, music, painting, sculpture, of course, you have to have a level of talent. You can’t teach creativity or imagination, but you can teach the skill. You can write the best novel in the world but people come onto courses to learn the skill, and often to be liberated to find their creativity. You can have a natural talent but that can only go so far, you need the basic building blocks first.”

Kate is currently working on a new book based in South Africa that takes place in the 1700s. After this, she will be working on a series of crime novels.

If you want to find out what’s happening at Manchester Literature Festival and get involved, visit their website here:
Manchester Literature Festival

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266134 - 2023-10-11 21:06:33

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