The last 10 weeks have flown by in the company of some 20,000 others on Professor Bruce Holsinger’s watch. “Plagues, witches and wars” has been a wonderful experience, and I’ve achieved more than I set out to. Not only have I an understanding of the genre of historical fiction, but I’ve learned to think more about what makes a historical novel, well, work. We had five set texts, all different, and all very engaging. Perhaps more so was the author seminars that accompanied them. Hearing first hand about the inspirations, questions, decisions and revisions they went through was a delight. It has inspired me to pursue the craft of writing a historical fiction…. One that’s longer than a short story! Most of the works we studied took years to write, and that’s reassuring in itself.

Not only do I have the wealth from the course, but a network of enthusiasts around the globe are connected in a Facebook Group, where we can get all geeky about bringing the past to life. This whole experience for me has been a real gift, and I’m so sad that it’s come to an end, because I feel I’ve just had the appetiser and I want the next course. But perhaps that is the real gift of education, that it inspires us to find out more for ourselves.

I guess it’s over to me.