Shake It Up: The HNS North America Conference 2021

The Historical Novel Society North America Conference takes place every other year, alternating with our sister conference in the UK. Our mission is to support educational and literary activities for increasing public awareness about historical fiction. We provide opportunities for readers, writers, and publishers of historical fiction to meet with others who share their interests and to learn more about historical fiction from experienced presenters. Our conference creates opportunities for both published and unpublished writers to discuss their work with others, including professionals in the field.

Going virtual for the first time

The HNS North America Conference is usually an action-packed weekend in a vibrant city chosen for its historical and cultural significance. But this year things are a little different. Instead of meeting in San Antonio, Texas, as planned, due to the ongoing pandemic, our conference will be completely virtual. While we are sad not to be meeting in person, we are also super-excited about the possibilities and opportunities a virtual conference allows. For example, we are able to welcome attendees from all over the world. While traveling to the US for a conference may be prohibitive for many, this year attendees can join the fun from the comfort of their own home. Going virtual has also allowed us to feature a wider variety of speakers. Authors and publishing professionals from multiple continents are presenting in our most diverse program to date.

100 hours of master classes, panels and more

We are thrilled to be able to offer over 100 hours of programming, including master classes, panels, presentations, cozy chats, and social entertainment, plus we have over 70 conversation rooms devoted to historical fiction topics where attendees can meet people who share their interests and enjoy a little bit of the personal connection that makes our on-site conferences so wonderful. We have eight agents and editors who are actively seeking historical fiction, ready for pitches and query critiques, and our Blue Pencil Café pairs newer writers with experienced mentors.

Special guests and insights

We are honored to welcome Lisa See and Jane Friedman as our special guests, and we are excited to be able to feature some true powerhouses of historical fiction like Margaret George and Elizabeth Chadwick. We are also pleased to place the spotlight on up-and-coming authors like Sadeqa Johnson, whose novel Yellow Wife is garnering terrific praise, and Sarah Woodbury, an indie author who has sold over one million historical novels. And our very own Richard Lee, founder of the Historical Novel Society, and Elisabeth Storrs, chair of the HNS Australasia Conference, will be joining us for a fascinating discussion of the state of international publishing.

Watch live or for up to 90 days

The conference takes place June 21-27, 2021, with content beginning every day at 7:00 a.m. and ending at 10 p.m. US Central Time. So no matter where you are in the world, chances are you’ll have the opportunity to view and participate in live sessions, and when the conference is over, you’ll have access to over 100 hours of recorded programming to watch at your leisure for 90 days.

Shaping the future of historical fiction

Take a look at our extensive program, and I guarantee you’ll find something of interest. Our theme this year is Shake It Up, and we are encouraging dialogue around how we, as writers and readers, can help shape the future of historical fiction. With three State of the State panels discussing current trends in our industry, sessions on craft, genre, historical inspiration, and the business of writing, and presentations on diversity and bringing hidden history into the light, this conference promises to be our best yet, and we can’t wait to welcome you!

How to register

Registration is open right up until the conference begins, but early-bird registration ends March 15th, and prices will increase after that point. HNS members receive a discount on registration.

About the contributor: Jenny Quinlan serves as chair of the Historical Novel Society North America Conference. As the founder of Historical Editorial and Historical Fiction Book Covers, she has helped hundreds of authors achieve their publishing goals. She has been an ardent supporter of historical fiction through her book blog and is a regular contributor to the Historical Novel Society website. She lives in Virginia.


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