Welcome to HNSConf12

Who needs words when there are pictures?

The Historical Novel Society Conference 2012 was BRILLIANT, and in my blog for this week, I’m going to take you through some of the highlights of the conference, which was held at The University of Westminster from 28th to 30th September.

Friday evening began with a Wine and Canapés Reception. There was a finger buffet, and there were soldiers ….

At the Friday evening reception

Saturday began with a welcome by Richard Lee, founder of the HNS, followed by the first of four Main Panel Sessions. This one asked What Sells HF? It was chaired by Diana Gabaldon.

L to R: Jade Chandler, Susan Watt, Simon Taylor, Diana Gabaldon, David Headley, Matt Bates

The opening address was then given by Philippa Gregory.

Philippa Gregory

Throughout the morning, there were book signing sessions, pitches with agents and editors, and workshops. A delicious lunch was followed by the Presentation of the HNS Short Story Award. The winner was Jasmine Svenne. The next Main Panel Session was The Lying Art, chaired by Ian Mortimer.

Judges: editor Gillian Green and agent Jonathan Pegg

L to R: Elizabeth Chadwick, Barbara Ewing, Ian Mortimer, Emma Darwin, Harry Sidebottom, Daisy Goodwin












There was more signing of books, and then another Main Panel Session, Brawn v Heart, which was chaired by CW Gortner.


Waitng for the doors to the book signing to open: Christina Courtenay, Jean Fullerton, me

Angus Donald, Karen Harper, CW Gortner, Shana Drehs, Doug Jackson, Gillian Green














The Final Address for the Saturday Day Conference was given by Margaret George.

Margaret George


Saturday night was crowned by a Banquet, complete with minstrels and jesters. Apart from delicious food, there was a Costume Pageant, an after dinner speech given by Bernard Cornwell, and several Sex Scene Readings.


Dessert: chocolate tart with cream

The line-up for the Pageant










Having fun at the banquet

Sue Moorcroft, Myra Kersner, Anne-Marie Ugland











Barbara and Tony Alderton

Henriette Gyland












Gillian Bagwell, Diana Gabaldon, Bernard Cornwell, giving a Sex Scene Reading


Bernard Cornwell










Another Sex Scene reading, this time by Sarah Dunant (sorry about the blurred effect!)


Sunday began with the fourth Main Panel Session, The Many Faces of HF, with Vanora Bennett, Carole Blake, Rory Clements, Sarah Dunant, Heather Lazare, Cathy Rentzenbrink. Unfortunately, my pic was too blurry to use. This was followed by more workshops and pitches to editors and agents. During lunch, there were more book signings. The Concluding Address was then given by Lindsey Davis.


Lindsey Davis

It was a fabulous conference, and everyone left looking forward to the next HNS conference, which will be held in Florida.

Roll on HNSConf13!

  • Looks like it was a brilliant conference!!

    • Liz:

      We had great fun, Liz. I loved the venue, and the atmosphere was terrific. Alas, though, it had no bar so wouldn’t do for the RNA conferences, and we had to find our own accommodation. I stayed in a nearby Holiday Inn, which worked out well.

  • Looks like a great event Liz, makes me wish I had gone.

    • Liz:

      It was excellent, Sue. I wish I’d taken more interesting photos, but I kept on forgetting to get out the camera as I was having so much fun. The speakers and chairs, such as Bernard Cornwell, Sarah Dunant, Diana Gabaldon and CW Gortner, were extremely amusing and very interesting.

  • Jan Brigden:

    Wow! What a fab event and a great line-up. Thanks so much for sharing all the info and lovely snaps with us, Liz 🙂 x

    • Liz:

      Many thanks for your comment, Jan.

      I do recognise that I’ve done better photos in the past, but it’s nice to have some sort of record of the event. Ideally, they’d be larger so that the faces were clearly visible, but when I made them larger for that purpose, they were GINORMOUS and filled the whole screen!! It was a terrfiying sight.

  • Lovely photos Liz-sounds like you had a great time. I would have liked to hear Philippa Gregory speak. I’d be interested to hear more about what sells historical fiction. That chocolate tart doesn’t look bad. Will have to try and get there next year.

    • Liz:

      Next year the conference will be in Florida. They alternate every year between England and the US.

      I believe that the Philippa Gregory talk is going to be put up on youtube. There was certainly a video made of it. It was an excellent talk. Perhaps they’ll show it at the next RNA conference. I hope so – I wouldn’t mind seeing/hearing it again.

  • Wonderful to see pictures especially as illness prevented me from being there. Looks like a good time had by all.

    • Liz:

      I was sorry not to see you there, Mary. I’d typed up your name on the banquet seating plan, and when we had to replace you, I realised that you must have been unwell. I do hope that you’re feeling much better now.

  • Henriette Gyland:

    It was a fabulous conference, and interesting to hear the male perspective, which we don’t get much of at the RNA conferences (for obvious reasons). Glad it’s over, though. It was very intense, and I was quite tired afterwards.

    • Liz:

      Yes, it was great fun, but the work that went into it was tiring. I slept for ten and a half hours when I got home, without waking up so much as once.

  • Carol McGrath:

    Well looking at the pictures makes it all worthwhile. I thoroughly enjoyed it and just reliving through pictures is glorious. I think the HNS conferences are always fantastic and this one was exceptional. I am passionate about history and historical fiction and it is amazing that so many of my generation were sparked off to a love of history by similar old favourites. I won’t list them here but you all know them , well those of us who loved the jean Plaidy novels in our day etc etc.

    Thank you, liz for posting all these pics. For us to enjoy and recollect.

    • Liz:

      I’ve just seen the Bernard Cornwell photo on you FB page, Carol, it’s a terrific picture. Mine was taken from further away, and had to be smaller to fit into the blog, but the clarity of yours is lovely.

  • John Jackson:

    At last!! Hats!! (although its the Soldiers who were wearing them).

    AND – Bernard Cornwell, one of my all-time-favourite authors. It all seems to have been great.

    Looks like an excellent time was had by all.

    Cheers, John.

    • Liz:

      And hats will be very much in evidence again in two weeks, John, but this time on women! It’s the wedding of my son in two weeks.

      Many thanks for your comment. It was a really excellent conference. To get to the final line was a lot of work (I was on the committee), but the end result made it all worth while.

Leave a Message