Bestselling author Sarah Dunant shares the secrets of her historical fiction

29 August 2013

Sarah Dunant
Bestselling author Sarah Dunant will give a talk at the University of Sydney this Thursday on the processes behind her historical fiction. Image: Charlie Hopkinson.

In order to capture the mystery and allure of Renaissance Florence, acclaimed historical fiction author Sarah Dunant visited churches, archives, museums and art galleries across Italy.

Now the bestselling writer will reveal the processes behind the richly realised depictions of her much-loved novels at a special Sydney Ideas and Power Institute event at the University of Sydney this Thursday 29 August.

In her talk, 'Getting Under Their Skin', Dunant will deconstruct the methods used to pen a living, breathing representation of the past. From decoding old paintings to working alongside modern historians, Dunant's talk will cast light on the origins of her discoveries, and the painstaking research that anchors her storytelling.

Underpinned by adroit historical investigation, Dunant's incisive writing has captivated readers worldwide with its vivid portrayals of the Italian Renaissance, exposing the subtleties and drama of ordinary lives. Her historical novels have found popular and critical acclaim for their potent blend of political intrigue, enlightened historical fact and sensory emotion.

Dunant is author of the popular Italian Renaissance trilogy, The Birth of Venice, In the Company of the Courtesan, and Sacred Hearts, a series of books exploring the lives and perceptions of 15th century women.

Her latest novel, Blood and Beauty, tells the gripping story of the Borgia family, remembered infamously as one of Renaissance Italy's most powerful, decadent and dangerous dynasties.

The former BBC radio host has written 10 novels, starting with contemporary thrillers and later shifting to historical dramas after an extended trip to Florence rekindled her love of history. She was a founding vice patron of the Orange Prize for women's fiction, and also reviews for The Times, The Guardian, and The Independent on Sunday.


What: Sarah Dunant: Getting Under Their Skin, a Sydney Ideas and Power Institute event

When: 6-7.30pm, Thursday 29 August

Where: Law Lecture Theatre 101, Eastern Avenue, The University of Sydney. See map

Cost: Free, registration required

RSVP: 02 9351 2943 or

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Contact: Emily Jones

Phone: 02 9114 1961; 0405 208 616

Email: 02381d3e1f19531b295d3a0c3a2f0c572d236c010f4168151b