Historical Fiction Book Group

The Historical Society of Princeton’s Historical Fiction Book Group, co-sponsored by the Princeton Public Library, immerses readers in the world of a historical time and place, who then engage with a scholar to learn the “real” story. At meetings of the Historical Fiction Book Group, scholars participate in discussions of the fictional elements and the nonfictional context of selected books, as well as what it means to engage with and use our past in a contemporary publishing moment.

Sessions fill up, so advance registration is recommended.

Upcoming Sessions:


Stay tuned for 2024-25 dates!


Past Sessions:

May 2, 2024: Matrix, by Lauren Groff, with Sucharita Ray, lecturer in art and archaeology and history, Princeton University.

March 20, 2024: In the Time of Our History by Susanne Pari, with Negin Nabavi, Associate Professor of History, Montclair State University.

November 20, 2023: The Mountains Sing, by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai, with Dr. Kristy Kelly, Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Policy, Organization and Leadership, School of Education, Drexel University. 

September 28, 2023: Trinity, by Louisa Hall, with Mark Goresky, Member, School of Mathematics, Institute for Advanced Study.

May 24, 2023: Tomorrow They Won’t Dare To Murder Us, by Joseph Andras, with Jennifer Sessions, Associate Professor of History and Director of Undergraduate Studies at the University of Virginia. 

March 13, 2023: Clark and Division by Naomi Hirahara with Dr. Vincent Schleitwiler, Assistant Teaching Professor, University of Washington. 

December 6, 2022: The Night Watchman, by Louise Erdich, with Professor Donald L. Fixico, Affiliate Faculty of American Indian Studies, Arizona State University. 

October 18, 2022: The Orphanage, by Serhiy Zhadan, with Dr. Mayhill C. Fowler, Associate Professor, Department of History at Stetson University, and Director of SPREES, Stetson’s Program in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies.

May 23, 2022: Libertie: a Novel, by Kaitlyn Greenidge, with Dr. Wes Alcenat, Assistant Professor of History, Fordham University. 

March 10, 2022: Confessions of the Fox, by Jordy Rosenberg, with Farid Azfar, Associate Professor of Early Modern European History, Swarthmore College. 

December 16, 2021: The Exiles, by Christina Baker Kline, with Maria John, Assistant Professor of Native American History, University of Massachusetts, Boston.

October 25, 2021: The Tattooist of Auschwitz, by Heather Morris, with Doug Cervi, Executive Director of the NJ Holocaust Commission and a Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Stockton University.

April 20, 2021: Hamnet, by Maggie O’Farrell, with Larry Danson, Professor of English Emeritus at Princeton University.  

January 7, 2021: When the Emperor was Divine, by Julie Otsuksa, with Alice Yang, associate professor of history at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Co-Director of their Center for the Study of Pacific War Memories. 

October 22, 2020: The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, with Alisha Gaines, PhD, Timothy Gannon Associate Professor of English at Florida State University.

May 14, 2020: Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks, with Sean Harvey, Associate Professor of History at Seton Hall University.

February 12, 2020: The Fortunes by Peter Ho Davies, with Beth Lew-Williams, Assistant Professor of History at Princeton University.

December 11, 2019: Their Finest by Lissa Evans, with Frank Wetta, Lecturer in Film and History at Kean University.

September 26, 2019: The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh, with Karen Pechilis, Professor of History at Drew University.

April 4, 2019:  Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig, on the 2017 National Book Award Longlist, with Chie Ikeya, Associate Professor of History at Rutgers University.

January 15, 2019: Telex from Cuba by Rachel Kushner, a National Book Award Finalist, with Jeremy Adelman, Professor of History at Princeton University.

December 4, 2018: News of the World by Paulette Jiles, with Camilla Townsend, Professor of Native American History at Rutgers University.

September 27, 2018: The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore, with Michael Littman, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Princeton University

May 1, 2018: The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen, with Michael Merrill, Professor of Professional Practice and LEARN Director, Rutgers Labor Education Center

February 22, 2018: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, with Prof. Elena Fratto of Princeton University

November 15, 2017: Burr by Gore Vidal, with Prof. Paul Clemens of Rutgers University

September 20, 2017: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, with Prof. Mekala Audain of The College of New Jersey