What’s on offer at HNSA Sydney 2019

The HNSA committee is proud to bring you our 3rd biennial conference. We never thought we’d get this far. I hope fans of the genre, both readers and writers alike, will gather as a community again –this time at historic Parramatta.

As program director, I thought I’d tell you what’s on offer at the conference in our three stream program. There is a lot to celebrate at HNSA 2019!

HNSA 2019 Guest of Honour and Speakers

Image of Jackie French
2019 Guest of Honour: Jackie French

Jackie French is our Guest of Honour. Historian, ecologist, literacy advocate, and author of over 140 books for all age groups, she holds more than 60 awards in Australia and overseas. Keynote speaker, Paula Morris, will address our theme of History Repeats, to explore whether historical fiction can engage readers who might not see the parallels between past and present.

Our HNSA Patron, Kate Forsyth, will once again warmly welcome you.

A treat for readers and writers

Our general stream features a star studded line-up of authors discussing their books, inspiration, favourite history, personal journeys and thorny topics. On Saturday 26 October enjoy the insights of adaptable writers, Sophie Masson and Kelly Gardiner (The Versatile Writer); hear why Jane Caro and Ali Alizadeh are drawn to write about famous characters (We Need to Talk about Bette and Joan); explore the innocence, guilt and psychopathy with Janet Lee, Pip Smith and Catherine Jinks (The Criminal Mind); and ponder subtexts in historical novels with Winton Higgins, Michelle Aung Thin and Lucy Treloar (Learning from History).

On Sunday 27 October, Nicole Alexander and Ella Carey explain the attraction of drawing on family legends (Personal Histories); Marie Munkara and Katrina Schlunke talk about recovering the erased history of First Nations people (Dispossession & Betrayal); and Kate Forsyth and Nastasha Lester travel back into France’s history (A French Affair). Alison Goodman, Anne Gracie and Anna Campbell will inspire us with Regency madness (George & Georgette) while David Whish-Wilson, Rachel Leary and Stephanie Parkyn take us into the mind of characters who battle both internal fears and their environment (Survival of the Fittest); while Meg Keneally and Gay Hendriksen will discuss the benefits of historical novelists and historians actively collaborating together (Walking Side by Side.)

HNSA Patron Kate Forsyth &
Keynote speaker Paula Morris

Finally, to round off the weekend, everyone can enjoy Kate Forsyth, Kim Wilkins and Elisabeth Storrs conjuring weird and wonderful superstitions and concoctions to keep readers spellbound in Love Potions and Witchcraft.

Honing your craft

Our second stream deals with the craft and business of writing. On Saturday 26 October, we’ll kick off by delving into how to keep the sizzle factor in your historical romance series (Stoking the Flame) with Lizzi Tremayne, Renee Dahlia and Elizabeth Ellen Carter; and discover the hard work required to market your novel after your ‘book baby’ is born with author Lucinda Brant, DMCPR’s Debbie McInnes, and Berkelouws’ Melanie Prosser (Connecting with Readers). Paula Morris, Isobel Blackthorn and Greg Johnston explain the challenges of imagining a dead person’s life (Respectful Research); while Jesse Blackadder, Rachel le Rossignol and Majella Cullinane discuss the value of writing degrees (It’s Academic).

Juiet Marillier, David Whish-Wilson, Marie Munkara, Michelle Aung Thin, Catherine Jinks & Nicole Alexander

On Sunday 27 October, Mall Nunn, Katherine Kovacic and Tessa Lunney will divulge how to weave a web of truth and lies in detective fiction (History & Mystery); Gillian Polack, Ilke Tampke and Pamela Hart ponder the individual challenges of researching different eras (The Things We Don’t Know); Belinda Castles, Robyn Cadwallader and Julian Leatherdale explore the nuances of point of view (I am a Camera); and Tea Cooper, Emily Madden and Carla Caruso describe the mystery element in parallel narratives (Intertwining Lives Revealed). The skills required to create a strong and plausible female protagonist is revealed by Juliet Marillier, Kirsty Murray and Elizabeth Jane Corbett (The Feminine Mystique); while Malla Nunn, Jesse Blackadder and Mira Robertson discuss the secrets of script writing (The Silver Screen).

A fresh approach – Friday craft & publishing program

Unlike our previous conferences, we’re holding a Craft & Publishing program on Friday 25 October with practical workshops for writers, masterclasses, and manuscript assessments followed by the two full days of conference sessions for readers and writers on 26 and 27 October 2019.

On the Friday there’ll be a suite of 9 two hour workshops by top rate tutors offering insights and practical tips on various aspects of the writing craft, research, and sub-genres. Our wonderful team includes Kate Forsyth (Spice & Swashbuckle – Writing Romantic Historical Fiction), Sophie Masson (Writing Historical Fiction for Children and Young Adults), Alison Goodman (Writing Historical Fantasy), Meg Keneally (Writing Crime Fiction), Pamela Hart (Making Research Work for You), Kelly Gardiner (Scrivener for Beginners), Rachel Franks (Trove for the Historical Novelist), Paula Morris (Writing Family History) and Evan Shapiro (Self-Publishing Essentials).

Gillian Polack, Kelly Gardiner, Rachel Franks
Irina Dunn, Evan Shapiro & Clare Hallifax

Our popular 1:1 manuscripts assessments will also happen on the Friday – this year with Scholastic publisher Clare Hallifax, and agent Irina Dunn. And Gillian Polack is offering 1:1 masterclasses on writing and research instead of teaching small groups.

And the winner is….

Our signature First Pages Pitch Contest will be held on Saturday 26 October. This year we’re offering $200 in prize money.  So polish up your pitch and the first few paragraphs of your work-in-progress. Rachel Nightingale returns as our narrator with Clare Hallifax (Scholastic Australia), agent Margaret Connolly, and Michelle Lovi (Odyssey Books), acting as our judges. Every writer in the audience can benefit from hearing the critiques of experts as to which words first attract a publisher’s attention. It’s entertaining for everyone else too!

Image of Sophie Masson
HNSA 2019 Conference Patron
Sophie Masson

The ARA HNSA Short Story Contest also returns thanks to our generous sponsor, ARA, which  is donating $500 prize money.
HNSA Conference Patron, Sophie Masson is our judge.

An evening by the river

Our conference dinner will be held at Sahra by the River, a restaurant nestled on the banks of the Parramatta River. A complimentary one way bus service is available for those needing a lift from the venue to town after a jam packed day. Historical Romance author, Anna Campbell, will regale us with stories after Sophie Masson announces the winner of the ARA HNSA Short Story Contest.

En garde!

Fancy some sword play? Or curious to know how to wear armour or hold a longbow? Richard Halcomb from the Medieval Archery Society is joining us this year to provide hands-on advice on Medieval Arms and Armouring while Richard Cullinan from Stoccata School of Defence will give an Introduction to Historical Fencing. So indulge your inner Robin Hood or Arya Stark at our Historical Reenactments and Weapons demonstrations.

Challenging the genre

In our extended Academic stream on Sunday 27 October, we’ll bring together postgraduates, academics, and other interested scholars to consider the complexities of the genre of historical fiction and its readership. This will also be open to general admission for conference delegates. A Call for Papers is currently been made. All topics will be revealed after August so stay tuned.

Say hello

The HNSA Committee looks forward to catching up with familiar and new faces in October to make a noise about historical fiction – again! Make sure you say hello to us, too.

All conference events and venue information are here.
Buy your early bird tickets now! Registration closes 31 July 2019.

All program information is here.

This post was written by Elisabeth Storrs, author of the award winning Tales of Ancient Rome saga, and the co-founder and program director of the HNSA. She’ll be conjuring spells with Kate Forsyth and Kim Wilkins at HNSA 2019 in Love Potions & Witchcraft.

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