Monday, June 12, 2023

The Historical Novel Society-North America: 2023 Conference

Annamaria on Monday

We writers on MIE are—to a person—all familiar with the popular mystery/thriller book conferences, of which there are many in North America and the UK.  The most popular in the US, Bouchercon and Left Coast Crime are aimed at fans as well as practitioners of the genre.  Others are also well-known, but they tend to be aimed more at writers, published and aspiring, than at the fan base—notably ThrillerFest, held annually in NYC and Killer Nashville.
The fan-based meetups, B’con and LCC, are organized in very similar ways.  They travel, each year  held in a difference location, which affords the opportunity to attract new fans from the nearby area.  Both invite authors to be included on numerous panels.  All we have to do is say we want to be on a panel, and we can pretty much be guaranteed a spot.  (Effort is made to match the authors’ assignment to the types of stories they write.  I, for instance, frequently am put on panels about exotic location or historical mysteries or research.

Although the Historical Novel Society’s biannual conference does move from place to place, it attracts predominantly aspiring writers.  There were about the 500 in-person attendees at this year’s meeting in San Antonio, Texas, and by my wild guess around 60% were aspirants.  (The events were also live-streamed to registered folk.  The panel I as on was on chosen for live-streaming, which—according to the man who did the tech magic, effectively doubled the number of people who participated. I am proud to say that he complimented us at the end of the session, because all the remote attendees stayed with us the entire hour, and many asked questions in the Zoom chat.)

The biggest difference between the HNS-NA conference and B’com and LCC is the way one gets a spot on the schedule.  HNS conferences (both for the UK and the NA chapters) are organized more like an academic confab.  People who want to present submit a formal application, describing their topic, mode (eg speech or panel).  The submissions must include brief and longer descriptions of the topic, along with names and bios and speaking experience of the presenters.  Each conference has a theme.

This year we met in San Antonio, Texas. My group's topic, was "Writing About War in Wartime."  I was the moderator.  Here were are after, what felt like a very successful hour.


From the left: your reporter, Michael J. Cooper, Nancy Bilyeau, Griff Hosker


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the glimpse behind the scenes--the HNS-NA does have the feel of an academic conference, but academic cons aren't usually so open to aspirants. It's great so many people are coming to historical writing!