Conference Committee

Alan Fisk – Treasurer

Alan Fisk filled the Treasurer role at both the 2008 UK conference in York and the 2010 conference in Manchester. He has been a reader, writer, and reviewer of historical fiction for many years.



Barbara Alderton – VIP hospitality and programme management

Based in Middlesex, Canadian born Barbara Alderton – a keen reader of all things historical, managed a Midlands modelling agency for twelve years, before returning to London as International Media Sales Director and then International Managing Director of a technical publishing company; responsible for the advertising sales, overseas editorial and U.K. representation of over a hundred and twenty management and computer publications in twenty five countries, including VNU (Benelux) and IDG Communications worldwide. She retired from the boardroom a number of years ago to concentrate on her writing career.

Bethany Latham – US promotion and liaison

Bethany Latham is an Associate Professor, Librarian, and Managing Editor of the Historical Novels Review. She is also a reviewer for HNR and Reference Reviews, as well as a contributor to NoveList. She regularly publishes book chapters and articles in various scholarly journals. Her latest book, Elizabeth I in Film and Television, was published in 2011.


Carol McGrath – Short Story Award moderator

Carol McGrath is a writer of historical fiction and an H.N.S reviewer. Once a teacher of High School History and English, Carol is currently a PhD/ MPhL Creative Writing student at The Royal Holloway University of London and has an MA in Creative Writing from The Seamus Heaney Centre, Queens University Belfast. Having grown up in Northern Ireland and lived California, she has been based in the Oxfordshire countryside for twenty years.

Charlie Farrow – Web-manager and online promotion

Charlie Farrow is a marketing professional. She was amongst the first cohort of marketers in the UK to be awarded Chartered status. She has worked with big brands and small businesses, both agency and client-side. She currently specialises in helping writers bring their work to market, providing a full range of literary, technical and marketing services – editing, cover art, e-book production, marketing strategy, advertising and promotional materials both on and off-line, video and social media. She made this website and designed the HNSLondon12 street sign logo.

In the parallel universe that she occupies the rest of the time, she has a fondness for herbs, myth, history and folklore. She is an artist and has been gestating her 14th century time-slip novel for quite some considerable time. Twitter: @charliefarrow1

Helen Hollick – Self-publication liaison

Helen is published in the UK and the US with her books about King Arthur and the 1066 Battle of Hastings, officially making the USA Today best seller list with her novel Forever Queen. She also writes a series of historical adventure seafaring books inspired by her love of the Golden Age of Piracy. As a firm supporter of independent authors, publishers and bookstores, she has recently taken on the role of UK Editor for the HNS Online Review for self published historical fiction produced in the UK Helen lives on the outskirts of NE London with her husband, adult daughter and a variety of pets, including a dog, cat, and two horses.

Henriette Gyland – Hotels, hospitality and bookselling liaison

Henriette grew up in Northern Denmark but moved to England after graduating from University of Copenhagen. She wrote her first book aged ten, a tale of two orphan sisters running away to Egypt fortunately to be adopted by a perfect family they meet on the Orient Express.

Between that first literary exploit and now, she’s worked in the Danish civil service, for a travel agent, a consultancy company, in banking, hospital administration, and for a county court before setting herself up as a freelance translator and linguist. An enthusiastic member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, she’s is assisting with this year’s RoNA Awards.

Henriette has won two prizes, the RNA’s Katie Fforde Bursary in 2008 and the 2011 Festival of Romance New Talent Award. Her first novel “Up Close”, a dark, romantic suspense story in Hitchcock tradition, will be published by Choc Lit in December 2012. Twitter: @henrigyland

Jenny Barden – Conference Coordinator and programme director

Jenny Barden is an artist-turned-lawyer-turned-writer whose debut novel, Mistress of the Sea, a Caribbean-set Elizabethan epic adventure, is scheduled to be published by Ebury Press in September this year. She has written for magazines and non-fiction publications and has been shortlisted for several national awards. She has co-ordinated the last three Get Writing Conferences, and moderated the Reader Awards for the UK’s inaugural Festival of Romance. Often threatening to go on holiday (but rarely achieving it), Jenny has a reputation for exciting enthusiasm, particularly after a G&T! She is represented by Jonathan Pegg of JPLA. More about Jenny can be found at and Twitter @jennywilldoit 

Justin Neville – Reader promotion and liaison

Justin is an editor by profession (in the financial sector) and is a lifelong fan of historical fiction. He is the founder and organiser of two successful book groups, including the London Historical Fiction Book Group.



Kate Allan – Tours and ancillary events management

Kate Allan writes romantic fiction. Her first novel, Fateful Deception, was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers Award. She is programme director of the York Festival of Writing and chief romantic of the Festival of Romance. Website:

Liz Harris – Hotels, hospitality and bookselling liaison

Liz Harris, born and raised in London, has since lived in USA, Berkshire, Cheshire and Oxfordshire. She has degrees in Law and in English.

An interest in foreign travel and in different cultures led to her debut historical novel, The Road Back, which is to be published by Choc Lit in September, 2012. She has also written a number of short stories and is published by DC Thompson. Whilst resident in the north west of England, she was a regular contributor to local newspapers on matters relating to education.

A member of the Historical Novel Society, she is also an active member of the RNA, has been the convener of the Oxford Branch of the RNA for the past six years, and ran the Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2011.

Mary Seeley – Registration and university promotion

Mary has been a member of the Historical Novel Society for a number of years and is on the UK reviewing team. By day, she is Subject Librarian for History and Religions at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, which means she occasionally get to dabble in ordering historical fiction as part of her job description. A voracious reader of historical novels (all periods considered!), she began with a serious mythology obsession aged about 8 or 9 (it took over from dinosaurs!) but once she read “The Eagle of the Ninth” there was no turning back. Secretly, she is a would-be writer, hoping to sometime see her name attached to something more dramatic than conference and workshop reports for the staff newsletter.

Ouida Taaffe – Short Story Award administration and judging

Ouida Taaffe is a journalist and edits a financial magazine. She is working on a historical adventure novel set in Germany during the Napoleonic wars – having previously written a PhD on 18th Century German literature.


Pia Fenton – ‘On the day’ manager and coordination support

Pia Fenton (writing as Christina Courtenay) is a committee member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, currently their Vice Chairman and responsible for organising one of their awards and for library liaison. She has won two of the RNA’s prizes – the Elizabeth Goudge Trophy in 2001 and the Katie Fforde Bursary in 2006. Pia-Christina writes historical romance and her first novel Trade Winds was shortlisted for the RNA’s award for Best Historical. Her second novel, The Scarlet Kimono, won the Best Historical Fiction award for The Big Red Read and was shortlisted for the ‘Festival of Romance’ awards in the Best Historical category. Her third, Highland Storms won the RoNA for Best Historical Romantic Novel 2012.

Richard Lee – Chairman, Press officer & publicity

Richard Lee founded the Historical Novel Society in 1997 after trying to join it, only to find it didn’t exist. The society has since developed in many unforeseen ways, following the enthusiasms of the active membership, with Richard trying to keep as light a hand on the tiller as possible. It is with bemusement but great pride that he regards the society’s robust health fifteen years on.

Richard has been involved with the organisation of many HNS conferences, co-hosted the Cambridge History Festivals, and ran author talks for two years at English Heritage’s flagship Kirby Hall re-enactment event. He has been a judge of the CWA’s Ellis Peters Historical Dagger, the RNA’s Elizabeth Goudge Trophy and the RNA’s Pure Passion Awards.

Richard studied English at Merton College, Oxford, and has worked for many years bookselling with W.H. Smith and Waterstone’s. One day he will finish his novel of the Crusades. Twitter: @histnovel

Sarah Johnson – US promotion and liaison

Sarah Johnson is Book Review Editor for the Historical Novels Review.  She has been treasurer/registration coordinator for four of the past HNS conferences in North America and is eagerly anticipating the next UK conference!  An academic librarian and reader’s advisor, she has been reading and collecting historical novels for many years and is an active reviewer for Booklist.  Her most recent book is Historical Fiction II: A Guide to the Genre.  For more information, see her blog at or on Twitter at @readingthepast.

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