Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Bits and pieces: contest winners, and new historical fiction course

University of Virginia English professor Bruce Holsinger, author of the excellent Burnable Books blog and author of the forthcoming A Burnable Book, a literary thriller set in 14th-century London (William Morrow, Feb '14), will be teaching a free 8-week online course entitled "Plagues, Witches, and War: The Worlds of Historical Fiction" starting this October.  The MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) will be taught through the Coursera online platform.  Participants will get to explore the foundations of the historical fiction genre through readings and the viewing of related lectures, and seminars and interviews with many popular historical fiction writers including Geraldine Brooks, Katherine Howe, Matthew Pearl, Yangsze Choo, Mary Beth Keane, and Jane Alison will be provided.

It looks like a great opportunity to learn more about the genre and its practitioners, past and present.  I plan to sign myself up.  Here's a longer description at the Burnable Books site, with links on how to enroll.

The winners of four recent contests on this blog have been chosen, although I've been neglectful (swamped, more like!) and haven't yet announced them here.  Congratulations to:

  • Sonia D, the winner of Elisabeth Storrs' The Golden Dice
  • Brett C, the winner of Janice Weizman's The Wayward Moon
  • Colleen T, the winner of Stephanie Carroll's A White Room
  • Denise D, the winner of Victoria Wilcox's Inheritance 
All winners and the prize sponsors have been notified.  Thanks to everyone who entered, and to the authors and publishers who provided the giveaway copies.


  1. I've heard of MOOC but have never done it. Is there a blog where participants can "talk" to each other?

    More and more, in a busy world, people who love to read are instant "classmates" wherever they meet.

    1. I've never worked with a MOOC either and am looking forward to seeing how it works. It should be fun. From the syllabus, there'll be discussion boards and other places to meet up online.

  2. Thanks for posting these. I've already signed up for the Coursera class on historical fiction. It begins in October with how many others? Potentially thousands! But the opening video and syllabus invites the reader right into the genre of historical fiction delightfully -- as does your blog!

    1. Hi Beth - I know, this could be a very large group! I've never actually taken an online course - I graduated before they became so popular and prevalent - so this will be a learning experience for me in several ways. And thanks! See you in class :)