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Based on a True Story: Writing Compelling Literary Non-Fiction

By Paul French

24 July 2020 (Fri)
7:30pm – 9:30pm


Course Fee: $65.00
Eventbrite Registration Fee: $2.62

This is a past course. View upcoming courses.

How do writers bring the past alive? Is it all right to guess at a historical character’s motivations or put words into his / her mouth? When does creative non-fiction turn into historical fiction?

In this workshop, participants will learn how to investigate and tell true stories in entertaining ways under the guidance of Paul French, author of a number of acclaimed books including Midnight in Peking and City of Devils. French will also talk about researching family histories in China and using unexpected sources to get at the essence of an era.

Participants will be guided on what they would require; their 'toolkit', when planning for a work based on a true story - be it family history or true crime. The workshop will address considerations such as source materials, choosing an appropriate genre and writing style, plot, voice and tense for creative non-fiction.

The workshop will also touch on the creation of an exciting and compelling opening for the story that both grabs the reader and explains the core elements (period, genre, style, plot arc) of the true story.

About the Trainer: Paul French

Paul French

Paul French was born in London and lived and worked in Shanghai for many years. His book Midnight in Peking was a New York Times Bestseller, a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, a Mystery Writers’ of America Edgar award winner for Best Fact Crime and a Crime Writers’ Association (UK) Dagger award for non-fiction. His most recent book City of Devils: A Shanghai Noir has received much praise with The Economist writing, ‘…in Mr French the city has its champion storyteller.’ Both Midnight in Peking and City of Devils are currently being developed for television.

Registration Details

Kinokuniya Privilege Card Members

Kinokuniya Privilege card members can enjoy 10% off the workshop fee.
Please provide your membership number and workshop title to [email protected] for the discount code before online registration.

Registration is on a first-come-first-served basis and workshop fees must be paid before the workshop. If the minimum number of participants is not met for the class, the organisers will inform all participants about possible postponement and cancellation, two weeks before the workshop date.

Cancellation & Substitution

The workshop can be cancelled or postponed two weeks before the workshop date if the minimum number of participants is not met. Participants will be fully refunded for workshops cancelled by us.

Participants who are unable to attend a workshop they have registered for are to inform us of the reason two weeks before the workshop date. They will be fully refunded in the event of extenuating and mitigating circumstances (E.g. illness, bereavement, accidents) . Those who inform us up to five (5) working days before the workshop date will receive a 50% refund. Participants can also attend another course at the same value within the same year.

Upon registration, you are deemed to have read and understood the cancellation, withdrawal and substitution policy and accept the terms contained therein.