Tomorrow around 4.30pm you’ll find me running around setting up audio equipment in preparation for the first part of the IHR’s Novel Approaches: from academic history to historical fiction conference.  The conference seeks to look at the intersection and relationship between the professions of academic history and historical fiction.  It should be a lot of fun!

I’ll also be there for the entire event taking notes.  Not because I think I could be a budding novelist in the waiting nor just because I find the topic fascinating.  No, this time I’ll be there because we are planning on doing something rather different with our podcasts. 

This coming Monday (21 November) we’ll open up our first ever virtual conference as a continuation of the two-day Novel Approaches event.  What is a virtual conference you might ask?  Well in this case at least it is an online site that continues our face-to-face conference well after it is finished.  At scheduled times each day we will publish podcasts from the conference, articles, book reviews, and opinion pieces.  We’re also planning on running a competition with some nice prizes on offer and will provide our ‘ultimate’ bibliography and list of relevant online resources.  All of this is free although I would encourage you to register so that you can enter the competition amongst other things.  

What do we hope to achieve through this virtual conference?  Well, for starters it’s not intended as a replacement for the actual conference.  How could it be?  However, we do want to continue and open up a discussion around the conference papers alongside various other resources.  We very much hope those going to the conference will take part and that those unable to join us in person will find our virtual conference almost as much fun and of just as much interest. 

The podcasts will of course still appear on History SPOT in due course (in fact we hope to also be able to provide some video content although that is very much an experiment and might not happen).       

So please do join us on Monday as we start with a conversation between novelist and historian (Hilary Mantel and David Loades) followed by a plenary talk by Alison Weir (plus of course much more!). 

Before then please also visit our IHR Digital blog where I have been (and will continue to do so throughout the next week and a bit) posting on the topic of A History of historical fiction.  I can’t (and won’t) say I’m an expert in this topic but I had fun researching the literature and learnt a lot along the way.  Hope you enjoy the results!