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Historical Fiction Writers

Page history last edited by Tamara Simons 8 years, 3 months ago

Historical Fiction

Well-Known Historical Fiction Writers


William Faulkner was born on September 25, 1897 in New Albany, Mississippi.  Later the family moved to Oxford, Mississippi where Faulkner began writing poetry at the age of thirteen and in high school played quarterback for the football team.  He also dropped out of high school, working in his grandfather's bank.  He was born as William Falkner and later changed the spelling to Faulkner.   Oxford, Lafayette is the model for his fictional county, Yoknapatwpha County.  He uses the fictional county as the basis for the majority of his books.  Faulkner accepted the opportunity to be a screenwriter in Hollywood in the early 1940s.  From the early 1920s to when he left for Hollywood, Faulkner published 13 novels.  Faulkner not only wrote well-known novels in his lifetime, but also many well-known short stories and poetry.  Faulkner was well recognized and has received several awards for his hard work.  Faulkner died on July 6, 1962 in Byhalia, Mississippi at the age of 64. [1] [2]



MARK TWAIN was born in Florida, Missouri on November 30,1835 and grew up in Hannibal, Missouri. Despite many challenges Twain became one of America's greatest literary writers. His works include novels, short stories, essays, and sketches. His most famous novels are The Adventures of Huckleberry Fin and the Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

As a young boy he played along the banks of the Mississippi River, which passed through Hannibal.  His boyhood adventures became the topic of his writing.  Through the years Clemmons had many jobs, including a river boat pilot and a newspaper reporter in Virginia City, Nevada, which is where he began to sign his articles as "Mark Twain. " He also became a successful lecturer. Twain's actual name is Samuel Langhorne Clemens. He received the name"Mark Twain" as a river pilot. [12]





Eugenia Price was born on June 12, 1916 in Charleston, West Virginia. She was also known as Genie. As a child her mother encouraged Eugenia's ambition to be a writer. When she graduated from High School instead of pursuing her dream of writing she decided to go into Dentistry like her father, right after proclaiming she was an atheist in 1932. She then went on to attend the University of Ohio for two years. Eugenia became the only female ever to enroll at a Dentistry School.  When she graduated she soon changed her mind and took up writing again. At the end of the 1940's to the present time Eugenia Price immersed herself into Christianity which changed her life in a whole new direction. During a book signing tour from Chicago to Jacksonville, FL, she stopped  in Georgia with her companion Joyce Blackburn and visited St. Simons Island after learning about the place. There, she knew it was the place she wanted to be and made it her home. On the Island was Christ Church. While walking through the cemetery she came across a man's grave, Reverend Anson Dodge, and his two wives' graves beside it. She then began to think about their lives. This started her research on these people and others to write about. In Her lifetime she was known for her historical fiction novels and for her Christian books. She wrote 39 fiction and nonfiction books which include; The Beloved Invader, New Moon Rising and LightHouse.The last book she wrote before she died was The Waiting Time. Eugenia Price died in Brunswick Georgia on May 28, 1996 of congestive heart failure.[6]

Joy Kogawa was born in Vancouver, British Columbia on June 6, 1935. She is a Canadian poet and novelist of Japanese decent. Kogawa was sent to interment camps during World War II, which became a major topic for most of her novels. Kogawa's best work is Obasan, a semi-autobiographical novel that tells about the struggles the Japanese-Canadians went through during World War II. She has also written children's books like Naomi's Road. After the war there have been many committees like the Save The Kogawa House Committee to preserve childhood homes of many significant authors of Canada. Kogawa still lives in Canada today and is still fighting for Japanese rights in Canada. [7]


 Kenneth Roberts was born December 8,1885 in Kennebank, Maine. Roberts graduated in 1908 form Cornell University, where he wrote two of Cornell's songs, one being "Fight for Cornell." Roberts is best know for his historical novels, but that wasn't always his occupation. He was a journalist for most his life.  He mainly wrote for the Saturday Evening Post from 1914-1928. He also was a journalist for The Boston Post. He has written eight novels that are considered to be great stories and many other less significant novels in his lifetime. Later in life he  experimented with  another kind of writing with the help of good friend Henry Gross. These books were nonfiction documentations of his association with Henry Gross, who was a water dowser. The books where later released and flopped. They were popular sellers, but not looked on highly by the scientific community. Robert joked about the books and said that he should have titled them "The Seventh Sense" or "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People." [8] In 1957 right before Robert's death, he accepted the  Pulitzer Special Citation "for his historical novels which have long contributed to the creation of greater interest in our early American history." [9]

Arturo Pérez Reverte is a very famous author who writes historical fiction novels. His novels are well-known, especially his Captain Alatriste series, and are sold all around the world, approximately 50 countries. He was born in Cartagena, Spain in November of 1951. He began his writing career as a war journalist. He was a reporter for a local town for 12 years then worked for TVE, Television Española, for 9 years. To further his career in writing he started writing in an opinion page called XL Semnal in 1991. He was elected into the Spanish Royal Academy in 2002. His novels are mostly based on wars that took place in Italy, France, Spain, Russia, Yugoslavia, and other places in Europe. He also adds love and murder to his historical novels. He now resides in Madrid, Spain. [10] [11]


Historical novels of his include:

  • Captain Alatriste series
  • The Queen of the South
  • The Fencing Master
  •  The Flanders Panel
  • The Nautical Chart
  • The Seville Communion
  • The Club Dramas

Laurence Yep was born June 14, 1948 in San Francisco, California in Chinatown and he attended a bilingual school there. He wrote stories at eighteen and was given a penny a word. He attended Marquette University and graduated from the University of California With a BA in 1970. He then attended New York State University in Buffalo and was awarded his PhD. He married Joanne Ryder and lives in San Francisco. Yep won the Newbery honor book in 1976 for Dragon Wings, a story about a Chinese boy who comes to America in the early 1900's. He does not just write historical fiction but also writes fantasy, realistic fiction, and science fiction. His first novel was called Sweetwater. Some of the books he has written are Dragon Wings, Dragon Road, Sea Glass, and Thief of Hearts. [13], [14], [15] 


Charles Frazier tried writing in his early twenties, but wasn’t happy with the finished product[16] (Paul Bowles-ish stories[17]).  So instead of pursuing a degree in writing he decided to get an education in traditional academic English. He completed his B.A. at the University of North Carolina in 1973. Afterwards he decided to take a break from school and started traveling to South America in the late 1970’s. While traveling back and forth he coauthored Adventuring in the Andes: The Sierra Club Travel Guide to Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, the Amazon Basin, and the Galapagos Islands, his first and only book until Cold Mountain. In 1986, he went on to complete his Ph.D. at the University of South Carolina. Years later when his father told him about his great-great-uncle being a confederate deserter, he was inspired to write Cold Mountain. [16] The book was a phenomenon. It was a major bestseller and it was his first novel at that. Nowadays Charles raises show ponies and continues writing in the Appalachians of North Carolina.[17]

M.T. Anderson is an author born in Cambridge, Mass.  When he was very young he and his family moved to Italy.  His dad worked on a radar system at a U.S. Navy Base.  While they were in Italy the family lived in a crumbly old monastery.  Anderson says that when he was in Rome he got used to the ancient ruins and old statues of saints and castles on top of hills; in fact he got so used to them that while all the other kids in his kindergarten class were building things with blocks, Anderson would sit there and put his blocks in big, jumbled piles.  His teacher asked what he was doing and he explained that he was building ancient ruins.[18]  As a teen, Anderson wanted to be a writer. He spent hours upon hours writing novels, stories, ball-point comics, and the code for computer adventure games.[18]  He has written many novels including Thirsty, Feed, The Game of Sunken Places, Zombie Mommy, and The Octavian Nothing Series.  Schooling for Anderson included a boarding school in England followed by Cambridge University where he studied English Lit.  After that he went to school at Syracuse and obtained his MFA in Creative Writing.  Then he taught Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College. This is where many of his inspirations for his books originate, through the geography of the land and the events that occur in the community.  Anderson now writes books for a living.

  1. "William Faulkner." 30 Apr. 2009.  Wikipedia. 5 May 2009.<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Faulkner>


 2. Liukkonen, Petri. "William (Cuthbert) Faulkner (1897-1962)- original surname until 1924 Falkner." 2008. Pegasos. 2001. 5 May 2009. <http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/faulkner.htm>


3. "Mark Twain". The World Book Encyclopedia.2005.ed


 4. "Mark Twain".The Mark Twain House and Museum.2005.The Worx Group.6 May 2006.<http://www.marktwainhouse.org/theman/bio.shtml>


5. Nagel, Michael. "The Official Web Site of Mark Twain".5. Jul.2006. CMG Solutions. 6 May 2009<http://www.cmgww.com/historic/twain/about/bio.htm>


 6. "Eugenia Price 1916-1996." 4, Oct 2004 TheNew Georgia Encyclopedia 2009. The Georgia Humanities Council and the University of Georgia Press.7 May 2009  <http://www.newgeorgiaencyclopedia.com/nge/article.jsp?id=h-1249>


 7. "Joy Kogawa." 1 December 2009. Wikipedia . 10 December 2009. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joy_Kogawa>


 8. "Robert,Kenneth." 10 December 2009. Wikipedia.  8 December 2009. <http://en.wikipedia.org/Kenneth_Roberts_(author)>


 9. Brennan, Elizabeth A., and Clarage C. Elizabeth. Who's Who of Pulitzer Prize Winners. Greenwood, 1997. Print.


10. Pérez-Reverte, Arturo. "Author." Arturo Pérez-Reverte. N.p., 2007. Web. 30 Apr. 2010. <http://www.perez-reverte.com/Author.asp>


11. "Biography." perezreverte.com.  Santillana Ediciones Generales SL, 2010. Web. 30 Apr. 2010. <http://perezreverte.com>


12. Weston, Debbie. "Mark Twain" Monkeyshines on America: April 2001. Missouri Issue, p 32-33.


13. Wands, D. C. and L. E. Dickinson "About Laurence Yep." Fantastic Fiction. N.p., 7 May 2011. Web. 9 May 2011.


14. Yep, Laurence. " Laurence Yep Biography." Scholastic.com. Scholastic Inc., 2011. Web. 9 May 2011.


15. Ritz, Karen. "Birthday Bios: Laurence Yep." Childrensliteraturenetwork. N.p., May 2008. Web. 9 may 2011.


16. Small, Caroline M. “Charles Frazier.” NCWiseOwl. EBSCO, Jan. 2007. Web. 16 Dec.2011.


17. Gussow, Mel. "How a Family Tale Became a Word-of-Mouth Phenomenon - New York Times." The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. The New York Times Company, 27 Aug 1997. Web. 03 Jan. 2012.


18. Anderson, Matthew T. "M.T. Anderson." M.T. Anderson. 2012. Web. 16 May 2012. <http://mt-anderson.com/>

Comments (1)

Tamara Simons said

at 12:29 pm on May 18, 2011

I think it's interesting that Laurence Yep's childhood has a lot of bearing on his books' themes. He grew up in a multicultural environment and probably suffered hardships due to his Chinese heritage. His books' characters often suffer from alienation. This also explains why many of his books are popular with young adults.

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