Saturday, July 06, 2019

A collection of #HNS2019 links - summaries of the latest Historical Novel Society conference

As I mentioned last week, I recently returned from a two-for-one conference trip that saw my two worlds colliding (or at least coming closer together).  National Harbor, Maryland, the site of the 8th Historical Novel Society North American conference, and Washington, DC, where ALA Annual was held, are about 15 miles apart, so I went to first one, then the tail end of the other.

The conference had about 420 people attend, which was great to see.  Having co-founded the North American conferences along with Ann Chamberlin (and marketing coordinator Claire Morris) back in 2005, when we had half as many participants, I enjoy seeing how the conferences have grown and expanded since then. There were a plethora of panels to choose from, two wonderful keynote speakers in Dolen Perkins-Valdez and Jeff Shaara, a massive afternoon book signing, and cocktail parties that let me catch up with old friends and meet people I'd been in contact with only on social media or email. Based on the attendee list, there were many people I never saw; the hotel, the Gaylord, was enormous.  My friend Alana White and I co-presented a session on research for historical novelists that was scheduled as a small group Koffee Klatch session, but we had almost 70 people show up and stay for the full hour, sitting or standing.  Not bad at all!

Although I didn't end up taking detailed notes, some of my fellow #HNS2019 attendees fortunately did.

At A Writer of History, M. K. (Mary) Tod summarizes the panel The State of Historical Fiction, in which the conference's participating editors and agents discussed the current picture and future of the genre. Two takeaways: publishers are on the lookout for unique takes on WWII and diverse perspectives on historical times.

Mary also provides an overview of Tips on Writing a Series, with panelists Donna Russo Morin, Nancy Bilyeau, Patricia Bracewell, and Anne Easter Smith.

Novelist J. D. Davies attended the conference while visiting America for the first time.

Betty Bolte wrote about the top 5 lessons she learned from #hns2019.

The latest of Kate Quinn's conference recaps, which are always entertaining to read.

Highlights of the conference from debut novelist Kip Wilson, author of White Rose.

More highlights from the Secret Victorianist, aka novelist Finola Austin, whose upcoming novel Bronte's Mistress will be one to watch for.

Janna Noelle has some tips on getting the most out of a writers' conference such as HNS.

Liza Nash Taylor's experiences at the HNS conference and the Nantucket Book Festival. She spoke about women's fashion in history.

A newspaper writeup from the Prince George's Sentinel that focuses on the readers' festival.

And here's my book pile from the ALA exhibit hall.  Some of these will be offered for review for the Historical Novels Review, while others I'll be keeping for readers' advisory or review purposes later this year.


  1. Thank you for a great post, and also for the mention.

    1. Thanks for your comments about the post! Unfortunately your name didn't come through (probably Blogger's fault),but I enjoyed reading all of the writeups.

  2. Blogger/google is indeed doing a weird thing...but I wanted to say I'm always glad of a round-up from Sarah, when I can't get out to the conference. Great job, and feeds my hope for next time!

    1. Hope you can attend next time, too, Margaret!

  3. Thanks for sharing this -- I am so disappointed I missed HNS and I'm going to renew, I think, so I can get back to reviewing for the mag. I'm feeling so disconnected with the community!

    1. That's great, let me know anytime if you'd like to get back on the reviewer list!