News

Historical Writers Association launches

Transworld/Bantam novelist Manda Scott has formed the Historical Writers’ Association as a forum for writers and to promote the genre.

The internet-based group, which already boasts around 100 members including authors Simon Scarrow, Stella Duffy, Robyn Young, Laura Wilson, Tom Holland and James Holland is aimed at writers of historical fiction and non-fiction. Agents, editors and publishers have also already joined including Charlie Viney, Jane Judd, Broo Doherty and Bill Hamilton plus David Headley, m.d. of Goldsboro Books.

Scott said: “I used to be a member of the CWA-an extraordinary resource as an up-and-coming author, enormously useful. I’ve been writing historical fiction for nearly a decade, and I realised there wasn’t anything [for us]. Crime writing is the big brother of all the genres. I wanted to create something to be a forum [for] writers of historical fiction and non-fiction to get together.”

The HWA will hold a literary festival in conjuction with Kelmarsh Hall’s annual Festival of History, 16th-17th July, and Scott is also looking for sponsorship for prizes next year. She is also intending to hold a HWA Christmas party.

A temporary page for the website, which will be a “home on the web for historical writing” with a forum, blogs and links, is currently at www.thehwa.co.uk. Membership costs £75 a year, £80 for those paying by cheque or Paypal.

Scott added: “We welcome published authors, their agents, editors, publicists  - and booksellers - all and any who have a passion for history. I'll feel we've succeeded if history as a genre grows to match crime writing in the eyes of publishers, booksellers  and, most importantly, the book-buying public.”

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There is, of course, the HNA (Historical Novelists' Association) which is a little more inclusive, fiction wise and has been going for some time on both sides of the Atlantic. The conference is held in UK and the USA on alternate years.

The Historical Novel Society does indeed exist, and Manda is a member of it, as are many authors (Bernard Cornwell, Diana Gabaldon, Barbara Erskine, Sharon Kay Penman, Simon Scarrow, Elizabeth Chadwick etc).

The difference between the two organisations is that the HNS has an open membership, welcomes readers and fans of historical fiction, and welcomes authors on all different stages of the publication path. It's about celebrating the genre. The HWA, as Manda has put it, is "run by professional writers for professional writers". It therefore has the narrower remit of trying to get the genre properly respected within the industry.

Good luck to them, and where we can work with them, we will.

Lynne, I think you mean the really excellent Historical Novel Society. It was founded by Oxford graduate Richard Lee in the mid 1990's, and is going from strength to strength. It is a very welcoming and inclusive society that embraces all genres of historical fiction and also welcomes non fiction writers under its umbrella. It exists to promote the historical genre and does an excellent job. Richard Lee was recently a judge on the Romantic Novelists' Association Best Historical Novel of 2011 Award. It only costs £25.00 to be a member too!

I do indeed, Elizabeth. That comes of me writing first thing in the morning in the heat of the moment!
I've found the excellent Richard Lee's enthusiasm for the genre infectious, and I attended my first conference last year. I learned a lot from talking with the people who write in different branches of historical fiction, and listening to their lectures.
I do hope the HWA decides to be as inclusive as it claims, since linking the genres to further historical excellence is only achieved with togetherness.
And congrats on the award for Historical Novel of the Year, Elizabeth, presented last week by the RNA and its associates!

The Historical Novel Society is a well-established and wonderfully generous-hearted organisation that commands an impressive following internationally among readers as well as top-name authors of historical fiction of all kinds. It nurtures new talent, and is currently expanding rapidly, as evidenced by the burgeoning number of local chapters being established both in the UK and US. Through its publications, the 'Historical Novels Review' and 'Solander', the HNS aims to review all historical fiction that is published in the UK, North America and Australia, amounting to approximately 800 titles a year. Quite simply, it offers the best and most complete guide to the latest historical fiction in the world.

The advent of the HWA further demonstrates the growth in success of the genre, and all enthusiasts must welcome that, as they must also hope that both organisations will work together in harmony to ensure that this success continues strong.

I shall be interested to see if women's historical fiction is to be included in this new society, since history is not entirely dictated by the battlefield or crime. It would be a backward step if women's interests were ignored. We should remember the battles fought by brave women on a social and political level: contraception and votes for instance, are two obvious ones, although there are many more. And of course the path of history was often changed in the bedchamber. I wish the HWA well in their endeavour and hope they embark with the right criteria.

There is, of course, the HNA (Historical Novelists' Association) which is a little more inclusive, fiction wise and has been going for some time on both sides of the Atlantic. The conference is held in UK and the USA on alternate years.

The Historical Novel Society does indeed exist, and Manda is a member of it, as are many authors (Bernard Cornwell, Diana Gabaldon, Barbara Erskine, Sharon Kay Penman, Simon Scarrow, Elizabeth Chadwick etc).

The difference between the two organisations is that the HNS has an open membership, welcomes readers and fans of historical fiction, and welcomes authors on all different stages of the publication path. It's about celebrating the genre. The HWA, as Manda has put it, is "run by professional writers for professional writers". It therefore has the narrower remit of trying to get the genre properly respected within the industry.

Good luck to them, and where we can work with them, we will.

Lynne, I think you mean the really excellent Historical Novel Society. It was founded by Oxford graduate Richard Lee in the mid 1990's, and is going from strength to strength. It is a very welcoming and inclusive society that embraces all genres of historical fiction and also welcomes non fiction writers under its umbrella. It exists to promote the historical genre and does an excellent job. Richard Lee was recently a judge on the Romantic Novelists' Association Best Historical Novel of 2011 Award. It only costs £25.00 to be a member too!

I do indeed, Elizabeth. That comes of me writing first thing in the morning in the heat of the moment!
I've found the excellent Richard Lee's enthusiasm for the genre infectious, and I attended my first conference last year. I learned a lot from talking with the people who write in different branches of historical fiction, and listening to their lectures.
I do hope the HWA decides to be as inclusive as it claims, since linking the genres to further historical excellence is only achieved with togetherness.
And congrats on the award for Historical Novel of the Year, Elizabeth, presented last week by the RNA and its associates!

The Historical Novel Society is a well-established and wonderfully generous-hearted organisation that commands an impressive following internationally among readers as well as top-name authors of historical fiction of all kinds. It nurtures new talent, and is currently expanding rapidly, as evidenced by the burgeoning number of local chapters being established both in the UK and US. Through its publications, the 'Historical Novels Review' and 'Solander', the HNS aims to review all historical fiction that is published in the UK, North America and Australia, amounting to approximately 800 titles a year. Quite simply, it offers the best and most complete guide to the latest historical fiction in the world.

The advent of the HWA further demonstrates the growth in success of the genre, and all enthusiasts must welcome that, as they must also hope that both organisations will work together in harmony to ensure that this success continues strong.

I shall be interested to see if women's historical fiction is to be included in this new society, since history is not entirely dictated by the battlefield or crime. It would be a backward step if women's interests were ignored. We should remember the battles fought by brave women on a social and political level: contraception and votes for instance, are two obvious ones, although there are many more. And of course the path of history was often changed in the bedchamber. I wish the HWA well in their endeavour and hope they embark with the right criteria.