The HNS was founded in the UK in 1997. At first it was conceived of as something of a campaigning society, because historical fiction was in the doldrums then. Or at least that was the perception. Our magazine Solander aimed at trying to alter that perception amongst authors and publishers. Quickly a second magazine was conceived, the Historical Novels Review, because we found our members enjoyed reviewing, and publishers and authors appreciated the feedback. In time we began to realise that the sheer scale of the review magazine was the best argument you could make for the strength of the genre. We also realised that our reviews could grow to be the best and most complete guide to the genre, and that there was a unique value in that.
Over the last 17 years we have become very much an international society. We aim to review all US and UK mainstream published titles, and as many other English language books as we can. Ideally we would also love to cover foreign language titles.
We also run competitions to discover new authors, conferences bringing authors and readers together, and maintain internet groups and lists. This website is our latest project and the hub of our activities: a home, we hope, for historical fiction enthusiasts wherever you live.
We are an entirely open membership – no-one has ever had to jump through hoops to join. If you enjoy historical fiction of whatever kind and for whatever reason, you’re welcome.
We are also an open organisation in terms of who can participate in society activities – our writing, editing or social events. Obviously these things need a structure, and so we have society officials, but the way to be an official is simply to volunteer. Everything we achieve is done through the unpaid voluntary work of enthusiasts – and new people can get involved at any time.
If you love historical novels, please join us, and help us make a noise about them.