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  • Jan Flynn

Conference Confidential


So I’ve just returned from the Historical Novel Society conference in Portland — and I do mean just; I’m perched on a semi-padded bench at SFO waiting for the airporter to Napa — and my little writer brain is whizzing along like a hamster on meth.

The previous three days have been chock-a-block with workshops, presentations, keynote speeches from literati gliterati, panel discussions, and agent pitches. In between, nearly nonstop networking with the other 1,000 or so writers in attendance. It’s been great, it’s been inspiring, it’s been exhausting. Conferences like this one, which is held in the US every other year and in the UK on alternate years, represent an enormous investment of time, effort and dedication on the part of the organizers, presenters, and attendees. Everybody wants to give and get all they can from the experience, and I’m pretty sure the collective energy involved could power Las Vegas for a month.

So this will be a short post because my inner hamster is running out of steam. Suffice it to say that getting to hear from the likes of Geraldine Brooks (Pulitzer Prize winner for March) and David Ebershoff (y’know, the guy who wrote The Danish Girl) as well as pitch to some very high-level agents and hang out with a crowd of seriously smart folks was heady stuff.

Yes, I am beyond glad I went. And if you write historical fiction, you should by all means join HNS if you haven’t already and you should attend their conferences. The next one’s in Scotland. I’m packing my kilt.

Meanwhile, time for this little hamster to go home and get some rest.

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