Who’s Who

Chairman and Webmaster

Richard Lee

Richard Lee founded the Historical Novel Society in 1997 after trying to join it, only to find it didn’t exist. The society has since developed in many unforeseen ways, following the enthusiasms of the active membership.

Richard has been involved with the organisation of many UK HNS conferences, co-hosted the Cambridge History Festivals, and ran author talks for two years at English Heritage’s flagship Kirby Hall re-enactment event. He has been a judge of the CWA’s Ellis Peters Historical Dagger, the RNA’s Elizabeth Goudge Trophy, the RNA’s Pure Passion Awards and has established the HNS New Novel Award and Short Story Award.

Richard studied English at Merton College, Oxford, and worked for many years bookselling with W.H. Smith and Waterstone’s. One day he will finish his novel of the Crusades. Twitter: @histnovel

Editorial Team, Historical Novels Review

Bethany Latham, Managing Editor

Bethany Latham is a Professor, Librarian, and Managing Editor of the Historical Novels Review. She is also a reviewer for HNR, Reference Reviews, and Booklist, as well as a contributor to NoveList. She regularly publishes book chapters and articles in various scholarly journals, and is the author of two works of nonfiction.

Sarah Johnson, Book Review Editor

Sarah Johnson has been an editor with the Historical Novels Review since 2000. An academic librarian and reader’s advisor, she has been reading and collecting historical novels for many years and is an active reviewer for Booklist and CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries. Her articles and reviews have appeared in NoveList, The Globe and Mail, Bookmarks Magazine, Library Journal, and other popular and scholarly publications. In 2012, she won the American Library Association’s Louis Shores Award for excellence in book reviewing. Her most recent book is Historical Fiction II: A Guide to the Genre. For more information, see her blog at readingthepast.com or visit her on Twitter at @readingthepast.

Lucinda Byatt, Features Editor

Lucinda Byatt developed a passion for all things Italian as a result of studying, working and marrying in Italy. She has worked as a translator for longer than she cares to remember, and now also teaches Italian Renaissance history at Edinburgh University. Raised on a reading diet of Cynthia Harnett, Rosemary Sutcliff and Anya Seton, she loved history enough to complete a doctorate. She’s fascinated by the lure of historical fiction, but also unashamedly purist: solid research must underpin the flights of fancy. She’s delighted to be part of the editorial team for the society’s newly merged Historical Novels Review, which will continue to offer an intriguing range of features, coupled with its benchmark review section.

Find out more at lucindabyatt.com.

Rebecca Cochran, US Reviews Editor

Rebecca Cochran is an academic librarian and professor at the Community College of Vermont. She teaches both research methods and technical writing. A reviewer for Historical Novels Review since 2006, Rebecca is thrilled to further pursue her technical writing career as part of the editorial team. She lives in upstate New York with her husband and daughters.

Myfanwy Cook, New Voices Column Editor

Myfanwy is a prize winning short story writer, with over 100 historical and romantic stories published in the UK and Australia. She has also had stories broadcast by the BBC and is currently an Honorary University Fellow of the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry (Universities of Exeter and Plymouth). Myfanwy has designed and run historical fiction and creative writing workshops for more than 15 years. Recently with the kind assistance of Bernard Knight and 50 notable contributors from the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand she published Historical Fiction Writing – A practical guide and tool-kit. Myfanwy is passionate about encouraging aspiring writers to use historical facts, places and events as inspiration to write engrossing and entertaining historical fiction. Find out more at www.myfanwycook.com or Twitter @MyfanwyCook.

Bryan Dumas, US Reviews Editor

Bryan Dumas is a freelance writer, book reviewer, and history teacher (middle and high school). His most recent work, a series of historical non-fiction articles called “Stories of Survival,” appeared in American Survival Guide magazine. He has served as a reviewer for HNR for two years and is excited to be joining the editorial team. He is a self-described history nerd, with a B.A. and M.A. in US History, and an outdoor enthusiast who once hitchhiked across Alaska and the Yukon just to see Jack London’s cabin in Dawson City. When he’s not reading historical fiction, he’s writing it; he is currently working on a novel set during the Great Chicago Fire. He lives in Colorado with his amazing wife, son who says no a lot, and neurotic dog. You can find him online at bryanpgdumas.wordpress.com and on twitter @BryanDumas.

Alan Fisk, UK Reviews Editor

Alan has returned to being a reviews editor. After a wide variety of careers including being a supermarket floor cleaner, office clerk, fruit picker, Air Force officer, and benefits claimant, he recently took late retirement from his last job, as a technical editor. He published five historical novels before abandoning writing, but he is still an avid reader of historical fiction. His website is at http://www.alanfisk.com.

Sarah Hendess, US Children’s Reviews Editor

Sarah HendessSarah Hendess has reviewed books for the Historical Novels Review since 2018. By day she teaches U.S. History to middle- and high-schoolers, but her alter ego is an active member of the Florida Writers Association and a four-time finalist for the Royal Palm Literary Awards. With any luck, someday she’ll win. She holds a B.S. in Professional Writing and an M.A. in History, so reading, writing, and reviewing historical fiction seems like the natural thing to do. She lives in Florida with her husband, son, and too many pets.

Edward James, UK Reviews Editor

Edward James lives in Cheltenham, England, where he has retired after being successively a university lecturer in Britain and America, a civil servant, an EU official and an international consultant. He has published books on social policy and local history and hopes to publish two HF novels next year, both set in the Age of Discovery. He is also editor of the Cheltenham Writers’ Circle anthology, ‘Hillside Voices’.

Doug Kemp, UK Reviews Editor

I have been a UK Reviews Editor since 2007, having first joined the HNS in 2000. A keen but amateur historian, my main interest is in the Restoration Court and politics of Charles II. But I have an enthusiasm for good writing of any kind and a passion for books. I also write and have had a number of short stories published in various anthologies.

I took early retirement in 2013, and when not reading or writing can be very often found looking after my young granddaughter, playing golf or, actively following the fortunes and misfortunes of a hitherto fairly obscure English football club, Leicester City, who I have supported since the age of 7, and then watched in amazement their rise to global prominence in 2015-2016.

Ilysa Magnus, US Reviews Editor

Not having had enough to do in her absurdly busy life as a Manhattan family law attorney, Ilysa Magnus became a U.S. reviews editor in 2000 after having been (happily) sucked into the Historical Novel Society as one of its reviewers. Growing up surrounded by books and reading since her earliest memories, Ilysa was an English teacher in her earlier incarnation, obtained her undergraduate and graduate degrees in English literature with a specialty in Chaucer and the Middle Ages, and finally petered out as a doctoral student as she hunkered down to her dissertation on Morgan le Fay of Arthurian legend. Perhaps that Ph.D. was never awarded, but Ilysa still fancies herself driven by that divine combination of history and literature that defines historical fiction — and knowing what constitutes compelling writing is certainly a help in her life as a litigator!

Linda Sever, UK Children’s Reviews Editor

I have a PhD in Medieval Art History and am Senior Lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire. As part of staff development I also recently took an MA in Writing for Children, which included editing and publishing. I am co-author and editor of Lancashire’s Sacred Landscape. I have recently completed writing and editing a book on Anglo-Saxon history and archaeology for 8-12 year olds, which will be published later in 2017. Before re-entering academia I worked as a Documentaries Director and Researcher with the BBC in their History and Archaeology Unit.

Misty Urban, Reviews Editor

Misty Urban PhotoMisty Urban is a fiction writer, college professor, and medieval scholar whose love of historical fiction grew out of a childhood crush on King Arthur. She reviews for Publisher’s Weekly and the Medieval Feminist Forum and is the founding editor of femmeliterate (http://www.femmeliterate.net). When not teaching, writing, or editing for Madwriters (http://www.madwriters.net), she enjoys reading to and with her kids, who are rather fanciful storytellers themselves.

Karen Warren, UK Reviews Editor

Karen Warren is now a full time writer, having previously been an academic librarian and then a tax professional. She has just finished writing her first novel (on a historical theme) and has started on the second. She is also a travel writer, with her own blog (WorldWideWriter), where she indulges her many interests, including some rather obscure aspects of history.

Twitter: @worldwidewriter

Fiona Sheppard, Proofreader

Fiona grew up in West Wickham, Kent and moved to Canada in 1972. She married a Canadian, home-schooled 3 children, ran a tourism business, was volunteer president of the local daycare and retired in 2011. She reads 80/100 books a year and doesn’t have a TV. Most walls of her house are lined with bookshelves – both fiction and nonfiction. Special interests are Welsh & Scottish history, Vikings, early Britons, the Conquest, Roman Empire, Renaissance Italy, Lancasters, Yorks and Tudors. She cannot imagine a world without books in her life and volunteers many hours with the local library just to be sure. She began helping Sarah Johnson in 2014, by compiling the lists of forthcoming novels for children and YA, and proofing the quarterly HNR magazine document. She lives in south-central Ontario.


Website Features

Claire Morris, Web Features Editor

Claire Morris started reviewing books for the HNS in 1998, and became managing editor of Solander in 2004. She helped organize the first North American conference in 2005, and coordinated the marketing and communications for the second conference in 2007. In 2009 she left the HNS to focus on other things; five years later she has returned as web features editor. Claire works as a professional writer and editor, and is the principal of Claire Morris Strategic Writing & Editing.

Social Media

Elaine Powell, Social Media Manager

E.M. Powell’s medieval thriller Fifth Knight novels have been #1 Amazon and Bild bestsellers. Book #3, The Lord of Ireland, was released in 2016. Born and raised in the Republic of Ireland into the family of Michael Collins (the legendary revolutionary and founder of the Irish Free State), she lives in northwest England with her husband, daughter and a Facebook-friendly dog. In addition to being the social media manager for the Historical Novel Society, she is a contributing editor for International Thriller Writers’ The Big Thrill magazine and blogs for English Historical Fiction Authors. Find out more by visiting www.empowell.com or follow her on Twitter @empowellauthor.


Georgine Olson, US Membership Secretary

Bio to come