Three authors explore how historical fiction illuminates the world. They discuss the responsibility of telling stories inspired by real-life figures, what’s at risk of being forgotten or lost if these stories are not told, and how they have used speculative techniques to explore themes of war, grief, religion, misogyny, creativity and selfhood. Sophie Haydock writes for the Sunday Times, Guardian, Royal Academy and Sotheby’s. Her debut novel is The Flames. Liz Hyder’s debut YA novel, Bearmouth, was named The Times’ Children’s Book of the Year. Her book for adults, The Gifts, is set in 1840 in London and the Shropshire Hills. Rebecca F John is winner of the PEN International New Voices Award 2015. Her second adult novel is The Empty Greatcoat.