Research Network Seminar 4: Michael Meyer and Ada Ferrer - Writing Believable Characters

Research Network Seminar 4: Writing Believable Characters

Wednesday 21 February, 2:00-3:30pm

On Zoom

Please note: free event, open to members of our Research Network only, which you can join here.



Professor Michael Meyer

Professor Ada Ferrer


Michael Meyer: Using Archives to Write Believable Characters

Creating context around a book's main character and arc can bring to readers an enlarged understanding of their story and its importance to their time. It can also lead the writer into the weeds, causing a reader to lose interest in your work. In this talk, Prof. Michael Meyer will discuss his approach and methods whilst writing about 1870s London and the many "B characters" in 'A Dirty, Filthy Book,'  which recounts Annie Besant's obscenity trial. Meyer has also written extensively about China, and will talk about about world-building for readers unfamiliar with a story's setting, history, and language.

Michael Meyer is a critically-acclaimed author and journalist who has written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, and many other outlets. A Fulbright scholar, Guggenheim fellow, Berlin Prize and Whiting Award winner, Meyer has also received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Cullman Center, MacDowell, and the University of Oxford's Centre for Life-Writing. He is a Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, where he teaches nonfiction writing.



Ada Ferrer: Emotional Archives - An Historian’s Historian Writes About Her Kin

Prof. Ada Ferrer has written extensively about the history of Cuba. In a new project, she uses her skills as an award-winning historian to write about her own family and tell an intimate story of revolution and migration. In this talk, Prof. Ferrer will discuss the relationship between history and family history, both as subject and method.  

Ada Ferrer is Julius Silver Professor of History and Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University, where she has taught since 1995. She is the author of Cuba: An American History (Scribner, 2021), which won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in History, as well as the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in History. Ferrer is currently working on two projects: a biography of a Black carpenter, artist, and revolutionary in early nineteenth-century Havana, and an intimate family history of revolution and migration that spans over a century of Cuban and U.S. history.


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