The articles that follow, written during the ‘McEwan plagiarism furore’ in 2006, all pose the same question: how should we write about the past? How should a novelist handle historical material in their work? What can fiction do with history that history cannot? Different commentators defend or attack McEwan on different grounds, an indication in itself of how grey an area literary plagiarism is. No one can agree on what constitutes plagiarism – is it the copying of phrases, or can it also be the borrowing of scenarios? Is it a question of degree, of how much material is used, and of how much it is changed? Can acknowledging your sources defuse it? These pieces offer a variety of answers.