Last weekend I spent a very enjoyable time in York attending the Historical Novel Society Conference. The conference was held at the National Rail Museum, so our breakout area had awonderful view of the museum exhibits: steam and diesel locomotives, huge monsters in iron and steel – a fitting backdrop for Andrew Martin, author of a series of books featuring murder and mysteries based around the Edwardian railways.
As well as Andrew, we had writers as diverse as Susannah Dunn (Queen of Subtleties - Elizabethan), Jude Morgan (An Accomplished Woman - Regency) and Elizabeth Chadwick (The Greatest Knight - Medieval), plus two discussion panels. I took part in a discussion with Jude Morgan and Mary Sharratt on whether women have been written out of history and how we should be redressing the balance (the conclusion was that we are now doing just that, with more and more novels placing women centre stage). There was also a discussion on the future of historical fiction (conclusion there – that no one can predict what is going to happen!)
It was a wonderful day and I met many old friends and made many new ones – always a pleasure at such conferences.
We followed up on Sunday morning with a guided walk around the city. Despite the rain we had a wonderful time looking at the old Roman walls, the remains of a Norman house and the medieval fortifications and buildings that abound in York – we didn’t even get to the Regency period! It was a fascinating tour and has convinced me that a much longer stay in York is necessary to explore its wonderful history. I am already planning my trip!
Melinda Hammond (Sarah Mallory)