This blog takes you behind the scenes of the writing of an academic history book – like a ‘making of’ featurette. Its aim is to make visible the traditionally invisible process of what it’s like for a university academic in the Humanities to write a research monograph, i.e. a single-authored 100,00 word book.

I’m a History Fellow at Somerville College, Oxford, and the book I’m writing has a working title of The Elusive Church: Luther, Poland and the Early Reformation. This project is supported by a British Academy Mid Career Fellowship (2012-13).

On these pages, you'll find a regular 'log' of how the book is progressing, plus information about the project. I welcome your comments and thoughts - whether you're studying or teaching history at school or university, or writing non-fiction yourself...

Saturday, 15 September 2012


Photo by gentlemanbeggar,
reproduced under Creative Commons licence.

Having a year to write a monograph feels like trying to steer a ship on a very long journey. So far, the book-ship has been on course, making slow but steady progress. Every so often, however, unexpected headwinds make it harder.

When I was writing my first book (the thesis-book), those headwinds mainly took the form of lengthy and regular job applications. In the past month, Elusive Church has been sailing through some windy weather – at first these were small breezes (checking proofs for an article about to go to press), then slightly more difficult distractions (revisions to another journal article), and how I’ve sailed right into a storm, in the form of a bulky funding application  for a future project, well beyond the horizon of this book. This monster application has slowed progress right down, and caused a little consternation on the bridge… But the end of this inclement spell is in sight, and it will be a relief to get back to the slow-and-steady again.  

No comments:

Post a Comment