Earlier this year I was invited to join the Historical Writers’ Association (HWA), the brain child of novelist Manda Scott, who wanted to establish an organisation for professional writers of history, run by writers. With historical fiction proving ever more popular we felt it necessary that the genre have its own platform, much in the same way that crime authors have the CWA with its literary awards, the famous Harrogate Festival and various social gatherings where authors get to meet other likeminded nutters – I mean, people.
A few years back an editor suggested something similar to me – feeling that history writers and lovers should have their own Harrogate – and I thought it was a great idea. Of course, neither of us got round to doing anything about it, so when Manda asked me to join the HWA committee it was an easy decision.
Now, after months of hard work by the committee, lots of good will from around the industry and support from fellow authors, the HWA is a fully-fledged organisation, with over 100 members and our very own festival, which launches this July, over the weekend of 16/17. It will be held in partnership with English Heritage’s fantastic Festival of History at Kelmarsh Hall in Northamptonshire, so not only do you get to come along and meet your favourite authors, you’ll also be able to enjoy an action packed day out, complete with Spitfires, explosions, jousting, WWII trenches and, if the one year I went is anything to go by – a re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings where William and Harold get attacked by a bunch of feral children wielding latex swords. Laugh? – I nearly died.
The HWA festival has something for everyone, with authors such as Michael Morpurgo of Warhorse fame, historians Tom Holland and Kate Williams, and some of the best writers of historical fiction in the UK today. The schedule is looking truly superb.
I’ll be there on Saturday 16 July, giving a talk on Myths in History: The Truth Behind the Legends, with fellow authors Angus Donald, Imogen Robertson and Tom Harper.
See the HWA site for further details, and whatever you do, don’t miss it!!