October 2012 Café Humanities
History as story-telling: fact, fiction and the space between
Michelle Elvy combines her interests in history and flash fiction in her latest project, a collection of very short stories set across the historical landscape of New Zealand, which she is writing this year thanks to a 2012 NZSA/Auckland Museum Library research grant. In this discussion, Michelle will address how she is using flash fiction (stories of just a few hundred words) to capture the essence and mood of a historical moment, and how the seemingly dissimilar approaches to flash fiction writing and historical research go hand-in-hand. Michelle will present some of her discoveries from her project and discuss the challenges of working with historical materials, the conundrums of writing as an outsider looking in on another period and the creative process of moving back and forth between fact and fiction in very short bursts.
About Michelle Elvy
Michelle Elvy is a writer, editor and manuscript assessor whose past lives have also included teacher, historian, translator and chief wrangler of a software consulting company. She is the founding editor of New Zealand's flash fiction literary journal,Flash Frontier: An Adventure in Short Fiction, and she also edits at Blue Five Notebook.
In June 2012, she coordinated New Zealand's inaugural National Flash Fiction Day, a nationwide celebration including competitions and community events across Aotearoa. A Pushcart nominee, Fulbright Scholar and Watson Fellow, Michelle has written poetry, short stories and non-fiction about travel, faraway places, food, motorcycling, the kindness of strangers and raising children in unusual environments for various literary journals and travel and sailing magazines. She teaches workshops on fiction, editing, the mechanics of writing and online creative communities.