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November Third Thursday: How to Find Drama in Historical Details

11/16/2017 From 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM


Third Thursday

Our Third Thursday program offers free and open to the public monthly discussions on the craft and business of writing. Each month, we focus on a specific topic of interest to writers and readers, bringing together four distinguished panelists for a conversation moderated by the Writers' League of Texas' Program Director.

November Third Thursday

Thursday, November 16, 2017

7:00 pm start


603 North Lamar Blvd.

Austin, TX, 78703


"How to Find Drama in Historical Details"

Some of the bestselling books in recent years have been historical fiction or nonfiction that examines events from the recent or distant past. The appeal of such books is, in part, the joy of immersing ourselves in these long-gone worlds. Yet anyone who tries to write such a story quickly realizes that research and worldbuilding can overwhelm the actual narrative. This panel of novelists and nonfiction writers will discuss the ways that writers can both bring a historical world to life and also tell a riveting story.


James L. Haley is an award-winning historian and author of numerous books on Texas and Western history, as well as several works of fiction, including The Buffalo War, which has been in print for thirty-nine years and remains the definitive history of the final war of the Comanche, Kiowa, and Cheyenne Indians against Anglo domination; the multiple award winning biography Sam Houston; and Wolf: The Lives of Jack London; among others. Haley’s work has garnered many awards, including two Spur Awards (2002 and 2011) from the Western Writers of America. His latest novel, and the second in the Putnam Naval Adventure series, is A Darker Sea: Commandant Putnam and the War of 1812.





Dan Oppenheimer is the author of Exit Right: The People Who Left the Left and Reshaped the American Century. His articles and videos have been featured in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Tablet Magazine, and He has an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University and is a Director of Strategic Communications at the University of Texas at Austin.




Natalia Sylvester is the author of Chasing the Sun and the forthcoming Everyone You Know Goes Home. She was born in Lima, Peru, came to the U.S. at age four, and, as child she spent time in South Florida, Central Florida, and the Rio Grande Valley in Texas before her family set roots once again in Miami. A former magazine editor, Natalia now works as a freelance writer in Texas and is a faculty member of the low-res MFA program at Regis University. Her articles have appeared in Latina Magazine, Writer’s Digest, The Austin American-Statesman, and Chasing the Sun was named the Best Debut Book of 2014 by Latinidad, and was chosen as a Book of the Month by the National Latino Book Club.



USA Today-bestselling author Sherry Thomas decided years ago that her goal in life is to write every kind of book she enjoys reading. Thus far she has published romance, fantasy, mystery, and a wuxia-inspired duology. Her books regularly receive starred reviews and best-of-the-year honors from trade publications, including such outlets as the New York Times and National Public Radio. She is also a two-time winner of Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® Award. Her latest book, A Conspiracy in Belgravia, is the second entry in the gender-bending Lady Sherlock historical mystery series. A Study in Scarlet Women, book 1 of the series, is an NPR and Kirkus Reviews best book of 2016.

And by the way, English is her second language.