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Historical fiction and historical fact

20 September 2021

‘Fiction is good at contradictions and flaws; it doesn't deal just in cause and effect, but in the inconsequential, the incidental, the half-formed, half-understood, and what is too ephemeral to write itself into the record. To a degree, historians have to believe that people meant what they said and said what they meant, and that their actions can be interpreted by the logic of their lives and times. But fiction redirects us to mystery and chance, and doesn't assume that people know their own minds or hearts.'

Hilary Mantel, author of the Wolf Hall trilogy, two books from which won the Man Booker Prize, and six other novels