Headshots of Patrice Lawrence, Catherine Johnson and Victoria Princewill (credit Sarah Ozo-Irabor)
Past Event
Young Readers

Untold Stories: Writing historical fiction for children and young people

Sun 7 May 2023
Loading performances

A conversation with Catherine Johnson, Patrice Lawrence and Victoria Princewill.

How can lost voices be written back into history? What narratives are waiting beneath the well-worn ones we all know?

Three award-winning authors discuss historical fiction, its importance for children and young people, and the joy of finding new perspectives through real and imagined characters.

With Catherine Johnson (Sawbones), Patrice Lawrence (Orange Boy) and Victoria Princewill (In the Palace of Flowers), whose work is driven by a desire to write forgotten African women back into our world.

For adults and young people interested in bringing the past to life

Catherine Johnson

Catherine is a screenwriter and author of bestselling books for young people.​

Shortlisted for the 2020 UKLA Book Awards, her Race to the Frozen North is a perennial bestseller with sales of over 40,000 to date. Her acclaimed novel Sawbones won the Young Quills Award for Historical Fiction, and The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo was nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal and the YA Book Prize.

Catherine is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Catherine Johnson introduces Journey Back to Freedom: Watch on Youtube

Patrice Lawrence

'I was probably in my 30s before I knew there'd been Black people in the UK before the 1940s'.

Patrice is a Brighton-born author of award-winning young adult fiction, brought up in an Italian-Trinidadian household in Sussex.

Her first novel Orangeboy was one of the most talked-about YA books of 2016, and her work has consistently featured on prestigious prize lists ever since.

Her recent novel Eight Pieces of Silva won the Crime Fest Award for Best Crime Novel for Young Adults and the Jhalak Children's and Young Adult Prize for Book of the Year by a Writer of Colour.

Her 2019 novel Diver's Daughter was written to raise the profile of Black Tudor history in schools, inspired by the real-life divers involved in raising the Mary Rose and other wrecked ships.

Patrice Lawrence introduces Diver's Daughter: Watch on Youtube

Victoria Princewill

Victoria is a historical novelist writing forgotten African women back into our world.

With an impressive academic background stretching from the arts to STEM, her work has been published by the BBC, the Guardian, the Independent, the London Review of Books and n+1 magazine.

Her first adult novel, In the Palace of Flowers, was published in 2021. Her first book for teens, The Diary of Sarah Forbes Bonetta, was published this year and is a powerful retelling of the extraordinary life of the orphaned African princess.

Victoria Princewill introduces In the Palace of Flowers: Watch on Youtube

Audio Brochure Event Listing