Fake History at #RaworthsLitFest
Otto English brings to Harrogate an alternative history of the world that exposes some of the biggest lies ever told and how they’ve been used over time. We’ll learn how our present continues to be manipulated by fabrications of the past.
Lincoln did not believe all men were created equal.
The Aztecs were not slaughtered by the Spanish Conquistadors.
And Churchill was not the man that people love to remember.
‘A brilliant and important book… Five Stars!‘ – Mark Dolan, talkRADIO
We caught up with Otto ahead of his visit to find out more about his book, his writing process, and how people respond to discovering what they were taught at school might not necessarily be true.
Q. What do you want audiences to be discussing over coffee (or a glass of wine) after your event?
A. My favourite bit when talking Fake History is the moment of realisation when people suddenly realise that something they have long believed in is just not true…. I’ve been surprised and delighted to find that most people enjoy the enlightenment and really want to talk about it afterwards. And will look forward to doing the same in Harrogate.
Q. Describe your latest book in 3 words
A. Challenging The Lies
Q. One thing we always love to know, what does your typical writing day look like? Do you have any writing quirks?
A. I think it’s fairly typical for writers to find that the greatest challenge is sitting down in front of the computer and that’s certainly the case for me. I tend to go for an early morning walk round the park and end up standing in the middle of the path making notes on my phone or sending tweets and not walking very far.
Writing about the subjects I tackle inevitably leads to long journeys down rabbit holes and sometimes those make it to paper but more often than not I end up reading some obscure facts about something completely unconnected from my starting point.
Q. What’s the best book you’ve read recently?
A. I really enjoyed Traitor King by Andrew Lownie – a brilliantly detailed account of the life and times of Edward VIII and Wallace Simpson. I bought it while doing research for my next book and though Edward only plays a walk on part in that found myself completely drawn into events and a history which most British people still do not understand.
Q. Why do you think literary festivals and events are important?
A. Being a writer can be quite a lonely existence and it’s great to get out and meet other human beings. I’m only half joking! It’s fantastic to be with like minded souls and even better to meet people who disagree with you. Too much of life is spent in echo chambers. I’ve found that both types are encountered at literary festivals and am very much looking forward to coming to Harrogate.
The Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival runs from Thursday 20 – Sunday 23 October 2022 at The Crown Hotel in its celebratory 10th anniversary year. Find out more and book tickets here.
Fake History with Otto English is this Friday, 21 October, at 7pm.