So Fed Up to Miss HULF 2020!

headshot of David Ebsworth

Historical novelist David Ebsworth was a popular speaker at HULF 2019

Historical novelist David Ebsworth writes…

You know the problem with “local” festivals like HULF? We’re all so busy trying to avoid clashing with the big commercial events, bank holidays and other stuff that we end up clashing with each other. And that’s a real shame since it tends to be events like HULF that do the most to promote reading, writing and great storytelling, or to support much-needed library services, across communities that perhaps can’t always access the bigger shows like Hay or the Oxford LitFest.

All the Way from Wrexham

As it happened, things worked out fine for me this year since, though I’m involved in organising our week-long Wrexham Carnival of Words up in North Wales, I had a relatively free day on Saturday 27th April and our old friend Debbie Young had invited me to do a session in the Village Hall about the background to my two Spanish Civil War novels, The Assassin’s Mark and Until The Curtain Falls.

David Ebsworth’s novels set around the Spanish Civil War provide fascinating insights into the era

It’s a fair trip from Wrexham to Hawkesbury Upton – and not made any easier by the tree fallen across the road on the last leg before we reached the village – but it was well worth the journey. Great presentations, among many others, from Dr Gerri Kimber about Katherine Mansfield, and from Brad Borkan on the inspiration of Antarctic exploration. Yet equally worthwhile for the chance to catch up and chat with other friends, colleagues and fellow-writers like David Penny, Bobbie Coelho and the inimitable Lucienne Boyce.

And, anyway, Debbie was due to return the favour by appearing on the following Thursday at Wrexham Library to talk about the joys of writing “cosy mysteries” and the role of humour in crime-writing, through her Sophie Sayers village mysteries. Superb!

Debbie Young returned the favour by speaking Wrexham Carnival of Words the following week

Diary Dilemma

So it was an honour to receive the invitation for a return appearance at HULF on 25th April 2020 but, sadly, that’s the same date on which I’m running a non-fiction History Day at home in Wrexham. I’ll be really fed up not to be in Hawkesbury Upton but I know that HULF will be even bigger and better than in each of its successful years so far.

Good luck, therefore, to Debbie and her team of volunteers and long may the local litfests flourish!

David Ebsworth’s latest novel is now available to order in print and ebook from all good stockists

For more information about David, his books and his busy schedule of events, please visit his website: www.davidebsworth.com.

Advertisements

Historical Novelist Edward James Delights in the Cotswolds

Historical novelist Edward James writes:

photo of Edward James

Edward James, historical novelist and reviews editor for the Historical Novel Society

The delights of HULF began even before I arrived at Hawkesbury Upton.  What a soaring view over the Severn valley as we drove along the Cotswold Edge, along a road never travelled, although I have lived in Gloucestershire for over a decade! It was a cold, windswept day (our rotary dryer blew away during my absence) but marvellously clear.  And that was before I discovered Hawkesbury Upton, a delight in itself.

I arrived in time for the opening ceremony and laid out my books on the display table.  Alas, nearly all of them were still there at the end of the day.  After the readings from the schoolchildren’s poems and Brad Borkan’s inspirational speech, I followed Brad across the road to listen to his stories of the Heroic Age of  Antarctic exploration. I am writing a feature article for the Historical Novel Society on historical fiction with a Polar setting, so I booked Brad for an interview later in the month.

cover of TheFrozen Dream by Edward James

A novel set in Arctic Russia

After a leisurely lunch at one of the two local pubs I listened to Rod Griffiths and Lois Parker give their poignant presentation on dementia before taking another break to chat with other festival goers at the school and the Methodist Chapel.  Then it was time for the literary tour ‘Around the World in 8ish Books’ at the Bethesda Chapel. My 15 minute slot was on Arctic Russia, introducing my novel The Frozen Dream, an adventure story about England’s first contact with Russia in the 16th century.  I read the passage where the ships first meet the pack ice.

Not that I write exclusively about cold places.  Freedom’s Pilgrim is set in Mexico and I am currently writing Beyond the Big River, which begins in Texas (the Big River being the Rio Grande).

cover of Freedom's Pilgrim by Edward James

Freedom’s Pilgrim is set in warmer climes

And so to the closing ceremony and collecting my unsold books.  At least they earned me a place on the HULF programme, which is one of the things which makes being an author worthwhile.  Thank you Debbie for making it possible.

Edward James is a review editor for the Historical Novel Society and has published two historical novels, The Frozen Dream and Freedom’s Pilgrim.  He is retired and lives in Cheltenham.  See more on https://busywords.wordpress.com/about-myself  .