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Robin Hood: finding the fact in the fiction

Yesterday, author and alumna K C Murdarasi posed the question ‘How much do we really know about Robin Hood?’ to Sixth Form pupils, at an assembly diving into her brand new book on the legend.

K C Murdarasi spent much of her childhood in Sheffield and attended Sheffield Girls’ from 1991 to 1998. She has been writing professionally since 2007 when her first novel, ‘Leda’, was shortlisted for the Scripture Union New Fiction Prize.

After studying Ancient History at the University of St Andrews, and studying the era where Robin Hood developed into the famous legend we know today, she was surprised at how much of the tale is not in the public eye: her most recent book, ‘Why Everything You Know about Robin Hood Is Wrong’, aims to illuminate what medieval historians actually know about one of England’s most famous heroes, separate from today’s modern interpretations.

She focused on the topic of historiography - the study of the writing of history and of written history - and covered the development of Maid Marian as a character from the original tales in the 1200s. Robin Hood’s love interest, who in modern day is always featured in adaptations of the story, was in fact a separate character in medieval May Games before being added later, and was turned into a noblewoman by playwrights of the Elizabethan era.

The session ended with a Q&A session for pupils keen to ask questions, including what advice she would give to girls also looking to be writers or historians. “It’s a good idea to read a lot, both books that are challenging and ones you enjoy, but the main thing is to just try - you’ll naturally improve with time,” she commented.

History pupils and enthusiasts alike were fascinated by her unraveling of the story as we know it. Mubanga said, “I liked her enthusiasm! I’m going to study Graphic Design at university, with History as part of the course, so I found her advice really useful.”

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