In 2012, James Vella Bardon and I set up a small Facebook group called HNS Sydney as a chapter of the Historical Novel Society in the UK. Our plan was to hold a biennial conference in Australia as the third arm of the international organisation. Not only this, we hoped that the event would become a fixture on the Australasian literary calendar.
In 2014, the Historical Novel Society Australasia Inc was incorporated to achieve that very aim with founding members Chris Foley, Wendy J Dunn, Pauline Montagna, Garry McDougall and myself. We were soon joined by Di Murray, Greg Johnston and Linda Hale.
Amazingly, our Facebook group has now increased to nearly 500 people from across the world (you can join too). And even more exciting is that the dream of holding an event to celebrate the historical fiction genre has been made real. Our committee of Chris (Chair), Wendy, Di, Greg and myself are now eagerly (but exhaustedly) waiting for the conference to take place on 20-21 March 2015.
The conference has snowballed from a modest program to one that will feature over 40 speakers including internationally renowned authors such as Kate Forsyth (our patron), Colin Falconer, Felicity Pulman, Toni Jordan, Juliet Marillier, Sulari Gentill and Sophie Masson. As program director I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of all our speakers to support this inaugural event. We have even been featured in newspapers such as The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, as well as on Radio National. Our little event has now attracted national attention!
Here is a little more about the conference and cocktail party. I hope you will consider attending. Make sure you say hello if you do. All are welcome!
You can buy tickets here.
The conference is being held on the weekend of 20-22 March 2015 at the historic Balmain Town Hall, Sydney, exploring the theme of ‘The Historical Novel in Peace and War’. The conference will be a celebration of the historical fiction genre in a weekend of talks, panels, debates, book launches and readings.
The opening night reception will be held at the prestigious State Library of NSW on Friday 20 March. Sophie Masson is our guest speaker, and Felicity Pulman will launch her new book, Unholy Murder (all attendees will receive a free ebook bundle from Momentum!) We are then conducting a round table debate on the topic: ‘What can historical novelists and historians learn from each other?’ with Kelly Gardiner, Jesse Blackadder, Deborah Challinor, Rachel le Rossignol and Gillian Polack. This event is separately ticketed and is open to all.
The Day One sessions conclude with a ‘First Pages’ competition where aspiring historical novelists will have their submissions read aloud to industry experts. The session will also provide other attendees with a chance to learn what attracts agents and publishers when seeking new historical fiction. And you won’t want to miss out on the ‘In Bed with History’ panel on Day Two where Kate Forsyth, Colin Falconer and Jesse Blackadder will read some of their saucier excerpts!
There are three skills-based super sessions that are being run concurrently with the main conference program. Manuscript assessments will be conducted by industry expert, Irina Dunn. Dr Gillian Polack is offering two small group workshops focused on how to weave research into compelling and authentic historical fiction. The third session will focus on how to use social media to build an author platform run by myself and review blogger, Margaret Bates. In addition to the super sessions, the HNSA is pleased to be partnering with Swinburne University of Technology to provide the opportunity to submit an academic paper to a special edition of The Australian Journal of Crime Fiction on the theme ‘Phryne Fisher and Other Fantasies: The Female Detective in History’.
At the conference dinner on Saturday 21st, attendees will have opportunities to mingle with leading authors and join us for the launch of Sherryl Clark’s, Do You Dare – Jimmy’s War, and listen to our after-dinner speaker, Kate Forsyth. You can even book a ticket to sit next to Nicole Alexander, Jesse Blackadder, Craig Cliff, Colin Falconer, Kate Forsyth, Sulari Gentill, Posie Graeme-Evans, Toni Jordan, Juliet Marillier and Felicity Pulman. The first 50 ticket holders will receive a free copy of Sheryl’s books.
I am also pleased to say that I am offering a 10% discount to whole weekend conference tickets if you subscribe to my newsletter.
And you can sign up for more new about the HNSA conference by joining its mailing list.
More information about the conference program and speakers can be found at www.hnsa.org.au
Help spread the word. Here’s a tweet you could use.
Register for #HNSA2015 Conference for some great #historicalfiction and #giveaways! http://ow.ly/IVL7x
Read about our authors on our HNSA blog.