HNSA book launch 2Janna-Chronicles-03-Unholy-MurderMy thanks to Dr Gillian Polack for launching Unholy Murder, Book 3 of The Janna Chronicles, on Friday night, and to Momentum for their very generous e-book bundle for all attendants.  It was a super evening at the NSW State Library, introduced by the renowned and best-selling author Sophie Masson, and we also heard from the patron, Kate Forsyth, and Elisabeth Storrs, one of the movers and shakers on the HNSA committee who did such a wonderful job organising such a spectacular conference. The launch was followed by a lively debate on the topic of what historians and historical novelists can learn from each other – and the one message that has come out of this conference in blazing lights is that historical fiction is important, popular and relevant. My question is: have we learned anything at all from ‘history’?  At the launch, and following the theme of ‘peace and war’, I quoted part of the Peterborough Chronicle, written at the time of the civil war between King Stephen and the Empress Matilda in the 1140s, during which the Janna Chronicles are set. The writer bewails the cruelty of the oppressors, details some of the terrible tortures prisoners had to undergo, and how the population was starving; that life was so difficult for everyone that it was said ‘that Christ slept, and his saints.’ And the answer to my question, as I look around today, is ‘not much’ – unfortunately!  Would you agree?

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