Untold lives blog

Sharing stories from the past, worldwide

21 August 2014

Raising the Dead: Tales of Untold Lives

One of the aims of this blog is to inspire new research and encourage enjoyment, knowledge and understanding of the British Library and its collections.  So we are delighted to tell you about the work of writer Jamie Rhodes which ticks all those boxes!

Jamie Rhodes
Jamie has written several short films and teaches creative writing and screenwriting at school and community group workshops.  He is a folklore enthusiast and his writing is often inspired by rare and unusual stories. So collaboration with Untold Lives is a match made in heaven! 

Jamie contacted us through Twitter in June 2013 and we met for a chat which resulted in Jamie contributing guest posts to the blog.  Then in 2014 Jamie received a grant from the Arts Council to write a book of historical fiction inspired by stories which have been posted on Untold Lives.  Each of the short tales uses the archive collections as a starting point and seeks to explore how ‘a writer can bring alive a not altogether impossible re-imagining of our past’.  Jamie believes that in order to create good fictional characters, it is necessary to observe ‘the small but beautiful details of real lives’.  Documents in the British Library have given him a window to observe people of the past and he has imagined the personalities behind the pens.

Dead Men’s Teeth and other stories from Voices Past will be published later this year.  The stories in the collection are - Dead Men’s Teeth; Quarantine; Arrowhead; Mary March; How I Did Long fer a Tattie Pasty!; Death or Australia; Printed on the Thames; Ignatius Sancho’s Shop; Vulture Temple; and Stolen from India. Fans of this blog will spot some familiar titles there! 

Story telling in a Victorian family
J E Millias, Christmas Story Telling from The Illustrated London News (1862) Images Online Noc

Jamie Rhodes will be hosting an event at the British Library on Monday 20 October 2014 at 18.00 Raising the Dead: Tales of Untold Lives.  Join us for a spine-tingling evening of Gothic horror-themed readings from his collection of short tales.

And please do let us know if you have been inspired by Untold Lives!

Margaret Makepeace
India Office Records Cc-by


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