Sunday, 27 March 2016

Writing - A Happy Easter to all my followers

Happy Easter to you all. The day on which Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to His father.

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A little like pulling a rabbit from a hat in the minds of many these days but two thousand years ago!
Once again the story is related to passing on history and writing things down. Of course eyewitness accounts are renowned for their inaccuracy and I have a personal example.

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St Paul's Cathedral

The site of the action took place inside St Paul's Cathedral in London about thirty years ago. I was a teacher accompanying a party of children from the school at which I taught and we were on a three day break in the capital. The itinerary included a trip to the cathedral along with a follow up to the Museum of London which is quite close.
We, like teachers from all schools in such situations, regularly checked how many children we had with us. We counted the children into the cathedral, out on the steps afterwards, when we arrived at the Museum and before we were about to leave. It was at this point that we discovered that one of our number was missing.
That was when we asked the group when the lad was last seen and given that this was over a period of around two hours, not two thousand years, the responses were varied.

"I had my photograph taken with him on the steps of the cathedral."

"I walked with him to the museum."

"He was in the basement of the museum looking at the cars."

" He was in our group at the museum."

Of course all were mistaken, they weren't lying, just wrong. The group were counted into the cathedral, then lined up to leave and counted once more. The group then moved to the cathedral steps for a photograph. It was after the last count and before the photograph that the boy took himself to a different part of the cathedral to take photographs of his own. So the statements the children made were all incorrect!

When people report on an incident there are always possible inaccuracies and so when reading accounts you have to be rather like a mathematician and take the common facts as more likely than the peripheral information. I have no doubt that Jesus was crucified, that he was interred and then his body seemed to vanish. The accounts of his reappearance vary in detail and timing but reappear in some form he seemed to.

Walter Scott Competition

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Walter Scott

The shortlist for this year's Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction has been announced.
William Boyd, Patrick Gale, Gavin McCrea, Allan Massie, Simon Mawer and Lucy Treloar are in the running to receive the honour in Melrose in June.
The winning author will pick up the £25,000 first prize.
The judges said each place on the shortlist had been "hard fought" in "another exceptional year for historical fiction".
"This embarrassment of riches forced us to focus our lens more closely on fiction which evokes an authentic atmosphere of the past, rather than that which solely deals with the nature of memory," they said in a statement.
"The six books we have chosen are certainly evocative - transporting us from the Great Northern prairies to the South Australian coast, via a wide sweep across pre-war and post-war Europe - but they also tell great stories, and bring periods of history alive, much as Walter Scott did in his time."
The six books are:
  • Sweet Caress by William Boyd
  • A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale
  • Mrs Engels by Gavin McCrea
  • End Games in Bordeaux by Allan Massie
  • Tightrope by Simon Mawer
  • Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar
Last year's prize went to John Spurling for his book The Ten Thousand Things.
This year's winner will be announced on 18 June during the Borders Book Festival in Melrose.

God Bless