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A look back in time

Novelising the past has challenges for the modern historical fiction writer, but human nature doesn’t change, says Margaret James


The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.

So begins The Go-Between, the classic novel by LP Hartley, and that opening line has become almost as famous as the one we all know about single men of good fortune presumably being in need of wives.*

While it’s certainly the case that politics, cultures, traditions and values change from generation to generation and from country to country, often dividing us when it might be in our better interests to co-operate with each other, it’s also arguable that basic human nature all over the world and down the ages stays the same. Yes, in the past they did things differently.

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In the first issue of Writing Magazine for the New Year, we look at what's hot for 2018 as publishing insiders share their predictions for the year ahead. You can get your writing year off to a great new start with advice for all writers - whether you write crime, romance, fantasy, poetry, historical fiction or for children, we've got something in this issue to help and inspire you. • Our star interview is the queen of dynasty sagas, the great Barbara Taylor Bradford. • Keep up to date with the latest opportunities to sell your work and see it in print, and win £58,142 in writing prizes.

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