Sunday 3 July 2011

News: The History Girls

I had the great pleasure of meeting Michelle Lovric at the Orion Children's Books Summer Party last week. Long time readers of The Book Zone will know that last I fell head over heels for two of Michelle's books - The Undrowned Child and The Mourning Emporium) - and they rank as two of my favourite reads from last year. I couldn't help but get all fan-boy when I met Michelle (who was lovely to talk to by the way), and during that conversation she mentioned that she was a 'member' of The History Girls, a new joint blog by writers of historical fiction. At that same event I also met the wonderful Caroline Lawrence, herself a member of The History Girls, and author of the recently published, and rather excellent, The Case of the Deadly Desperados, the first book in her Western Mysteries series.

I promised them that I would write a short post about their new venture, even though it is a little disappointing that there are no male authors in their not-so-little gang of 26. However, on the train on my way home from the party I tried my hardest to think of some male authors of historical fiction for young people and I struggled a little. I came up with names such as Andrew Lane (Young Sherlock), Craig Simpson (Special Operations), and Chris Bradford (Young Samurai). After that I could only think of the likes of Philip Pullman (the Sally Lockhart books, but first published in 1985), so not a particularly long list, unless you include writers of time travel books (e.g. Alex Scarrow of TimeRiders fame and Johnny O'Brien with his brilliant Jack Christie adventures) or horror set in the past (e.g. Jon Mayhew). I am sure there are many more but work has been stupid busy recently and my brain has turned to mush.

The following day I received the press release (see below) about The History Girls from Mary Hoffman, another outstanding author and member of the group, in which they wrote: "We don’t have a specifically feminist take on History; we just found when the idea was canvassed that the majority of the writers in this genre seemed to be women." Fair point, I say, especially as many of the authors in the group have written some fantastic boy-friendly books, some of which rank among my favourites of the past ten years (Eleanor Updale's Montmorency series and Linda Buckley-Archer's Gideon series to name but two). I will certainly be a regular visitor to the blog from now on.

Press Release:

The History Girls ( is a new joint blog by writers of historical fiction. 26 first-rate writers are lined up to produce a daily blogpost across a range of subjects in the genre. (photo by History Girl Caroline Lawrence)

Prize-winning, internationally renowned authors of YA historical fiction like Celia Rees ,Theresa Breslin, Mary Hooper and Eve Edwards (a.k.a. Julia Golding) are joined by both writers of historical fantasy for younger readers (Katherine Langrish, Katherine Roberts) and those with a primarily adult readership (Louise Berridge, Emma Darwin).

The group ranges from experienced established authors like Adèle Geras and Nicola Morgan to first-time novelists like Teresa Flavin, H.M. Castor and Imogen Robertson. Among us we cover every period from the Stone Age to World War Two (N M Browne, Leslie Wilson, Barbara Mitchelhill). And every period in between, Including the England of Alfred the Great (Sue Purkiss) the Tudors (Harriet Castor and Eve Edwards), George lll (Linda Buckley-Archer), Victoria (Eleanor Updale, Penny Dolan and Catherine Johnson), . Geographically we range from Iceland to Troy to the Wild West, via Venice and Ancient Rome and Egypt. (Marie-Louise Jensen, Adèle Geras, Caroline Lawrence x 2, Michelle Lovric and Dianne Hofmeyr)

We are going to run competitions to win copies of our books, regular feature on our first History teachers, favourite writers, inspirational objects etc. We’ll have reviews, interviews and guest blogs, from other best-selling authors of historical fiction – maybe even a man or two!

We don’t have a specifically feminist take on History; we just found when the idea was canvassed that the majority of the writers in this genre seemed to be women. The blog, The History Girls, goes live on 1st July, with an introductory post by Mary Hoffman on the inspiration for setting the group up, which she did with Michelle Lovric.


  1. It was great to meet you, too, Darren! For male writers of historical fiction, what about Robert Muchamore? He is doing The Henderson's Boys set in WWII.... BTW, the History Girls hope to interview some male writers of hist-fict or invite them to guest post!

  2. Of course.... how could I forget the great Robert M? Told you my brain has turned to mush.I'm looking forward to keeping up with The History Girls blog.

  3. Thank you so much for this. At least four History Girls are now blushing prettily.

    What I really wanted to say is that we History Girls are indeed boy-friendly and will happily entertain Gentleman Callers - ie male writers will be welcome to do guest posts, and we shall certainly review good books regardless of the gender of the writer.

    It was lovely, and inspiring to meet you. Congratulations on all you do for children's books and children.

  4. I have been looking for this kind of book.really find interesting and insightful.Everything else you describe, makes it seem like a book I'd love.I loved this book for the beauty of the writing.
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