Update: Hi! This is the 2017 list! Here's the 2018 list.
I'm a huge fan of writing/reading conferences. Over the years I've learned a ton, met some incredible people (including my fantastic agent :) ), laughed at late-night raunchy readings, drank too many cocktails, and, most of all, been inspired.
Since there are a few great ones coming up this year, I thought I'd share. Most of these are writing conferences, but some are great opportunities for readers too.
Books Alive 2017 | Washington Writers Conference. My beloved colleagues at the Washington Independent Review of Books always put together a fantastic conference, filled with unique panels and top-notch keynote speakers. The organizers take advantage of the wealth of writing talent in the DC-area to put together a fun event (like, oh, Ron Charles of the Washington Post and Marita Golden, among others this year). This year there's a panel on writing "across the cultural divide," which certainly applies to historical fiction no matter where your story is set. April 28-29.
The Muse and the Marketplace. This was the first conference to capture my heart, and though it doesn't focus specifically on historical fiction, there are always a couple panels that are aimed at history writers. Muse is exceptionally well-run, always with great speakers who have specific knowledge to impart. And if you can afford it, their unique Manuscript Mart is an amazing way to get honest feedback from agents and editors. This year the conference is April 29-May 1, and it's always in Boston.
RT Booklovers Convention. RT is huge, and like the previous two, the convention isn't exclusively for historical fiction. But they're having a panel on historical romance, a historical homes tour of Atlanta, and some great authors. May 1-7.
Historical Novel Society | North America Conference. The wonderful thing about this conference (aside from the amazing costume party and the roster of historical fiction rock stars), is that it's aimed at both readers and writers. I loved the event in Denver two years ago, and I'll be seeing you in Portland, Oregon this year! June 22-24.
Historical Writers of America. I attended the HWA debut conference last August, and it was one of the most fun things I did that year. The intimate conference brought together historical fiction legends like CC Humphreys and Margaret George in an atmosphere that encouraged conversation and connection. HWA is for both fiction and non-fiction writers, so there's always something to learn. This year's conference will be in New Mexico, September 21-24.
What conferences do you love? I've only listed US-based conferences, and I know HNS has some fantastic events in both the UK and Australia. What else? (And how do we find someone to pay for us to all go?!)