|Reception desk for HNS|
Now, during the speeches, panel-sessions and chats, which writer's name came up most often, do you think? Was it Bernard Cornwell (I wasn't at the Friday reception or Saturday evening banquet, so missed hearing the great man himself)? Was it Philippa Gregory? Patrick O'Brien? Conn Iggulden?
Nope. It was Jean Plaidy. I lost count of the times writers said they'd first fallen in love with HF through reading Jean Plaidy when they were young. As did I, for that matter. They also loved Anya Seton, Georgette Heyer, Henry Treece and Rosemary Sutcliff. Oh, yes. They'd learned about Tudor monarchs, wars and passions, Roman legions and medieval power-struggles, by being drawn into the stories of the figures from history which these writers so powerfully re-imagined.
Now, HF has moved on, of course. All genres have their waxings and their wanings, all have to evolve or die. History is only what we say it was. If we watch a historical film made in the Forties or the Seventies, Tudor gowns may be worn by the actresses but the flick of eye-liner, the carefully-welded curls or the suspiciously-supportive undergarments will tell us which era is currently doing the re-imagining.
Throughout the weekend, there was celebration of the current strength of the genre in the market, both here in Britain and in America and Canada - but there was also debate about fashions within the industry in terms of 'hot' eras and tired cover-treatments.
Here, then, is the first instalment of my summary of Saturday's conference speakers and sessions:
|Soldiers need cuppas too!|
|Doug Jackson - writes Roman thrillers and doesn't think the market is flagging!|
Right - I'm off now to discuss Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber with my son, who's doing his A levels, so I'll post more about the conference tomorrow.