Why Historical Fiction is the Genre Everyone Needs to Be Reading Right Now - Dundurn
Mar 03, 2022

Why Historical Fiction is the Genre Everyone Needs to Be Reading Right Now

“Historical fiction” is a bit of a misnomer. For those unfamiliar with its captivating grip on the imagination, the genre might call to mind visions of thick, dull tomes, musty pages and a monotonous Charlie Brown-esque voice droning on and on about mind-numbing facts and figures. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth!

I find historical fiction the most compelling of all genres because unlike sci-fi or fantasy (don’t get me wrong, also great genres), it’s utterly fascinating to read about all the unbelievable people and events that actually happened. In addition, the reader gets three or four (or more) genres for the price of one, as HF usually features a mash-up of action, adventure, mystery, thriller, romance, fantasy, and more.

I also think authors of historical fiction have their work cut out for them. They have more research to do, sources to compare, and facts to check then, say, those writing about contemporary times. (And I say this as someone who also writes heavily researched contemporary young adult novels 😉). However, this hard work pays off when you hear that these extra layers of delicious details that you spent months (or even years) researching, completely transport the reader to another time and place that—once again—actually existed!

Historical fiction is a fun and engaging way to learn about our past. It creates empathy from those who came before us and gives us insight into how we came to be who we are today. Our society takes many things for granted. Historical fiction gives us a wider perspective on our lives and some of our issues, which in turn can help us feel gratitude for some of the conveniences and privileges we enjoy today.  

Ultimately, historical fiction aids in fostering a sense of wonder at all of the incredible things that we as humans have accomplished in our collective past. It allows us to become more understanding of our present, and, perhaps, might even help inform the direction we’d like our future to take.

Alisha Sevigny is the author of the SECRETS OF THE SANDS historical adventure series and YA novels SUMMER CONSTELLATIONS and KISSING FROGS. Learn more about Alisha and her books or connect with her on social media @alishasevigny.

Once again, Sesha’s adventures will sweep readers across deserts and into the duplicitous world of Egyptian royalty. The Oracle of Avaris is a fast-paced novel that is impossible to put down. ― Colleen Nelson, author of Governor General's Award-nominated Harvey Holds His Own

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