Rewriting History

Nicola Pierce has written five novels of historical fiction for children. Her first novel, Spirit of the Titanic, published by The O’Brien Press in 2011, was reprinted five times within its first twelve months. Her second novel, City of Fate, about World War II’s Battle of Stalingrad, was shortlisted for the Warwickshire Year Nine Book Award 2014. In 2015, The O’Brien Press published Behind the Walls, about the 1688-9 Siege of Derry. Kings of the Boyne, released in 2016, was shortlisted for the 2017 LAI Children’s Book Award. April 2018 saw the publication of her history book for adults, Titanic, True Stories of Her Passengers, Crew and Legacy. Her most recent children’s novel, Chasing Ghosts; An Arctic Adventure, about the lost John Franklin expedition, was published in March 2020. She is currently working on a small history of Dublin due out 2021.

Price: €130

Duration: six weeks

Start Date: 16th March 2021. Please note that there is a creative writing course for 7-11 year olds. You’ll find further details here. 

Course is strictly limited to 10 participants. Suitable for 10-12 year old students.

This Rewriting History course will focus on writing creatively about an historical event. If you enjoy history and writing, then this is the course for you. We will explore how to research a particular episode in order to bring it alive on the page. We will look at how to set up or structure your story, how to choose your character and narrator and learn how to read photographs that will help you create atmosphere and spark your creative juices. Each week will bring a different theme inspired by a different photograph, a different era and topic. You’ll work on weekly assignments and Nicola will give you one-to-one written feedback on each assignment.

Module One:  1916: The Last Day inside the GPO

In this module, the writer must imagine what it is like to be inside a building that is on fire and then describe it for the reader – making it easy for the reader to believe that they are there too. The writer will explore the situation that the rebels found themselves in, physically and emotionally. Maybe your story is not just about the building burning but what that meant for the likes of Padraig Pearse and the wounded James Connolly. As the fire gets more intense there is a fierce debate about what to do.

Module Two: 1940: World War II’s Battle of Dunkirk

There are many ways to tell this story about the dramatic rescue of thousands of British soldiers from Dunkirk beach in France. In other words, there are different points of view to choose from. If the British don’t make it off the beach then they will be taken prisoner by the German army who have surrounded the area. Will your character be a British soldier who is desperate to get home safely or what about looking at the battle through the eyes of a German soldier who wants to prevent the enemy from leaving?

Module Three: 1915: The Sinking of RMS Lusitania

It took just eighteen minutes for the Lusitania to sink, eleven miles off the coast of Kinsale, County Cork. Only one family survived intact, the Riley family – Edward, father, Annie, mother, with four-year-old twins Sutcliffe and sister Ethel. Taking either the brother or sister to narrate, or tell, your story, how do you develop a character who is much younger than you?

Module Four: 1892: Irish Immigrant Annie Moore at Ellis Island

Originally from Cork, seventeen-year-old Annie Moore was the first person to enter America through Ellis Island, followed closely by her two brothers, fifteen-year-old Philip and twelve-year-old Anthony. Finally, they were joining their parents whom they had not seen for four years. Should this be the end of your story about Annie Moore or the middle or the beginning – it is entirely up to you. Is this the biggest moment of her life or was it when she waved goodbye to Cork and Ireland forever? Another possible ‘big moment’ is waving off her parents in 1888 and wondering would she ever see them again. Once you know what sort of story you want to write, you must then decide how to tell your own story around the historical fact.

Module Five: 1912: Captain Robert Scott of the Antarctic

The situation is desperate for the remaining four men, including Captain Scott, who set out from the South Pole to walk the 1500km back to camp. Not one would survive and it would take eight months before their tent is found, along with Captain Scott’s diary which contains his voice, his spirit, his narrative, about those couple of weeks. A diary can be a great tool in story-telling.

Module Six: 1969: Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin take a walk

Back on earth, Apollo 11’s astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin find themselves reborn as instant celebrities, famous all over the world. Their lives are changed forevermore, thanks to their moonwalk and the fame. What did these two men experience and how did it affect them? One of the grand, old rules of writing is to ‘Show, not Tell’. This means that you do not tell the reader what to think about a character or a situation, instead you can use the character to show what is going on through dialogue/conversation with another character and body language like facial expressions, and using how they deliver their lines to hint at feelings that the character might be trying to hide from everyone else.

To find out more about how the online courses work, or if you have any further queries, you can check out our Frequently Asked Questions or email us at

Our cancellation/refund policy may be viewed here.


ONLINE:  Please note that we do not require you to fill out a registration form. Instead, please click on the ‘Check Out Securely’ button below. During the payment process you can input your name and email address which we will use to contact you about the course. Once you have processed the payment, please email us at to confirm the student’s name and age. We will email you within 24 hours to confirm receipt.

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POST: Unfortunately, we no longer accept payments by post.

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