Faculty Research & Creative Activity


Past Perfect: Historical Fiction and Readers' Advisory Service

Publication Date

July 2011


Historical fiction is currently undergoing a renaissance in popularity among readers. However, many questions surround this wide-ranging yet complex genre. How do readers and librarians define historical fiction? Who reads it, why do people choose it, and what do readers expect when they read a historical novel? How can it be found within library collections, given that it's such a broad category? Answers to these questions are discussed, along with an overview of the diverse subgenres of historical fiction. Numerous examples of benchmark titles and authors are provided for each subgenre. Appeal factors for historical fiction, hot topics and themes, and special issues for librarians to consider for their collection are also covered. This presentation was originally given as a 90-minute webinar via Skype for the Concord Free Public Library in Concord, Massachusetts. Detailed speaker's notes are included.