Joel Martin / NLA / novels / Research

Research and You Will Find

When it comes to research, many of us – and let’s be honest here – will go to Google for answers.
We’re guilty of this, there’s no shame; Google is a quick and easy source for information, but it’s not always reliable.

When it comes to researching historical fiction and non-fiction the ACT is full of reliable sources that are available for writers to use. When it comes to writing historical fiction or non-fiction then Canberra is a resource in itself.

It’s easy to imagine yourself as a writer, surrounded by piles of books, researching into the dead of the night with highlighters and crunching chips that echo around the quiet room. In reality it may not be as glamorous as painted above but for Joel Martin the NLA (National Library of Australia) it was.

Joel Martin is an inspiring writer much like yourselves and had used the NLA quite a bit to work on the Inquisitor. ‘The reading room is fantastic, dark hues of wood giving off quite an earthy feel and the desks comfortable and welcoming. [It’s] a great place to read or write in peace. Also, take a walk across the avenue from the Library is the National Gallery of Australia, filled with stunning art and connecting you to a great extent with the people and the land. It’s a great place for writing.’

Having spoken to the staff at the NLA and they were very helpful. They answered all the questions that I had- and that was a few- and got me in touch with people who could help me out. The same goes for Joel Martin who gives the NLA a great review, ‘The staff were great. I got surveyed for a woman magazine…not sure what that means and there is a great café there too.’ We all know how well coffee goes with research.

There are plenty of available resources for you in Canberra to use at your disposable so why not use them? Not only do you have the War Memorial- the perfect resource if you are writing historical fiction about war times- but also National Sound and Film Archive, National Museum of Australia and National Gallery of Australia. All these facilities are willing to help anyone researching historical fiction and non-fiction, you just have to ask. And again, these sources are reliable whereas the internet can more often than not lead you astray. Even if you’re writing fiction and want background, these resources can help too and it’s available most days of the week.

The centre is always willing to steer you in the right direction too so don’t hesitate to ask for help. The staff can help you get in touch with the right people for any research facilities you are after.

So the next time you are writing historical fiction or non-fiction, check out a few of these places and use the wonderful resources you have available to you.

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