History in the Court – Goldsboro Books, London

I should have got round to writing about this sooner, but hey, better late than never. The first History in the Court (HitC) event took place last Thursday, the 29th of September. Hosted by the wonderful David Headley and Daniel Gedeon of Goldsboro Books, it saw more than 45 authors of historical fiction gathered in Cecil Court just off Charing Cross Road to chat with readers, drink a glass of wine, enjoy the sunshine and hear about the inaugural HWA/Goldsboro Crown for best debut historical fiction novel. The prize Рa beautiful glass block and £2,000 Рwill be awarded for the first time at HitC next year. See the HWA website for more details.

As well as my good self, there were many other word scribes: Anthony Riches, Harry Sidebottom, Russell Whitfield, Manda Scott, Giles Kristian, Douglas Jackson, Michael Arnold, Angus Donald to name but a few. Conn Iggulden was there, but I didn’t get to meet him, sadly. I did get to talk to Bernard Cornwell, however, which was absolutely brilliant. Even got my photo taken with him!

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One Comment

  1. Mike Reed
    Posted 4 October 2011 at 17:12 | Permalink

    Hi Ben – that’s a good group photo, and when pictured with Bernard Cornwell (an author you particularly admire), it must add more spice to the enjoyment of savouring such an occasion. I would love to have been there myself, and I’m so glad it went well for all of you. And to have it in such a historic place as Cecil Court also enhances further such a meeting that revolves around history, fact and fiction alike.

    Although you know well enough about my experience at Middlewich from just a few days before, I’d like to bring some of it into your blog, thus giving other readers a chance to share that experience. The day I joined the Ermine Street Guard (ESG) is the thing I’ll regret the least – you couldn’t ask to feel more like yourself than to dress in a uniform/costume akin to your favourite period in history. I don’t know if you’ve done it yourself , but honestly Ben I’d certainly recommend it – it’s a great feeling.

    The field where the festival was held is on the exact site where the fort used to be, and even takes the shape of its plan. Archaeological finds can be seen in the town’s local museum.

    The armour can be heavy if you’re not used to it. I know you have a scuta of your own Ben, and by the feel of it, it’s not that heavy is it? But after carrying it (for instance) on a long march, it can get a bit heavy. So I’m trying to imagine how the troops coped with wearing and carrying such armoury during campaigns preceding such desert battles like at Zama and Carrhae, it must have been really strenuous. The caligae can also be very uncomfortable to wear. That’s why I can empathise so much with Tony Riches and his experiences of carrying such arms and wearing such armour – it’s a lot harder than it seems. We even did the wedge formation, the testudo, and marched towards the crowd and charged (you should have seen them react!).The artillery also used their onega and ballista, and the cavalry did their display.

    It would take allsorts to stop me from doing that again. I’m glad you like the pictures I sent you. Yes, they made me feel really proud. Best wishes, Mike.

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