Philippa Gregory’s passionate defence of the historical novel

On Saturday 29th September, Philippa Gregory delivered a fabulous opening address at our London conference.  She discussed, among many other things, the importance of narrative in retelling history and using facts uncovered through research to re-create women’s lives and give voice to ordinary people from the past.

It was both wonderful and wonderfully inspiring, addressing what we do as historical fiction writers and what we look for as readers.  She held the audience rapt for the entire 40-minute talk.

Thanks to Philippa for granting permission to post her keynote address, and to Johnny Yates for his stellar production skills.

Posted by Sarah Johnson


  1. Charlie Farrow
    October 16, 2012


  2. Darlene Elizabeth Williams
    October 23, 2012

    How do you choose a particular moment in time from such an impassioned speech in defence of the historical novel and historical novel author? I would, however, suggest the video times of 23:23 to 31:08 about writing HF in the 21st century, with a final comment of 34:00 to 34:32. My humble opinion.

  3. T.Huckle
    October 23, 2012

    An interesting and thought provoking speech, celebrating in the knowledge (fact or fiction)that without the difference in thought and prose, life in the now and the past would be very dull indeed.

  4. Lisa Orr
    October 28, 2012

    A wise, humble explanation of why, at this moment in time, we need to write fiction that imagines the lives of women who have been left out of the historical accounts.