Major Historical Fiction Conference and Prize

Kate Quinn
Kate Quinn

In September, Dartington Hall, Totnes in Devon is the venue for the Historical Novel Society Conference and their First Chapters Competition Awards. HNS First Chapters is a major new award for historical fiction writers with a first prize of £1,000 and nine category prizes of £500 each. The first prize winner will be announced during the conference at Dartington Hall on 7 September.


Dartington Hall, Totnes in Devon is the venue for the Historical Novel Society Conference and their First Chapters Competition AwardsThe Historical Novel Society has over 13,000 members and followers worldwide. They hold conferences in the UK, US and Australia. This year’s UK conference takes place 6–8 September at Dartington with presenters ranging from the internationally acclaimed Bernard Cornwell (The Last Kingdom, Sharpe), Diana Gabaldon (Outlander), Kate Quinn, S. G. Maclean, Elizabeth Fremantle (the film Firebrand, starring Jude Law and Alicia Vikander is based on her book), to local Devon authors with international reputations, including Ian Mortimer (The Time Traveller’s Guide to the Middle Ages), David Gilman, and Michael Jecks.

The conference theme is from page to stage and screen and a number of actors and scriptwriters are presenting at the conference, including Christine Mackie (Downton Abbey, Coronation Street), along with publishers and literary agents.


The conference is sold out to 250 delegates arriving from US, Canada, Australia, Europe and all over the UK. They will be enjoying excursions to Powderham Castle (and cream tea with the Earl of Devon), visits to Agatha Christie’s Greenway and Exeter Cathedral, and tours of Dartington’s gardens with local historical fiction writer, Rosemary Griggs. The conference includes an exhibition of historical maps, podcasters, a historical quiz, and a bookstall. The conference waiting list and full programme are here: https://historicalnovelsocietyuk.regfox.com/hns-uk-2024


Jane JohnsonThe nine category winners in the HNS First Chapters competition are announced on 10 June. These winners go forward as the shortlist for the final, overall prize of £1,000. This is the first year for this new international writing competition and it received over 400 high-quality entries.


The final winner will be decided by judges:

Kate Quinn (New York Times bestselling author; https://www.katequinnauthor.com)

Jane Johnson (author and publisher; https://www.janejohnsonbooks.com)

Lisa Highton (agent and editor; https://jennybrownassociates.com/about-us)

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