Monthly Archives: July 2009

pressing the button

Today I sent off the first draft of a new book. Then, as usual, I bolted out of the house with the dogs. If I don’t do that, I go back into the book, see one word I want to change and have to email my editor and say ‘delete, delete – I’ll send again!’ That way leads to the madhouse …

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what do you call … ?

What do you call a gathering of medieval historians? A mustiness? A crustiness? A fustiness? Not after you’ve met them.

I’ve just had the honour of being part of a heresy panel at the Leeds Medieval Congress, not as a heretic but as a historical novelist. I was in eminent company: Kate Mosse (of Labyrinth fame), Rene Weiss (of The Yellow Cross fame) and myself. It’s a nervous moment, addressing academics on a subject they’ve spent years dissecting. The academics delivered papers of magisterial complexity: Pascua draconum et cubile strutiorum might sound like Potter-speak, but it’s a real subject, as is Visual and Rhetorical Means in Religious Polemics in the Bohemian Reformation. Oh, and ‘Are you a member of the Louis the Pious Society?’ turns out to be quite an effective pick-up line.

But this was no musty crusty fustiness: the academics sparkled, particularly, I believe, in their dancing shoes. Yes, they really did have dancing shoes. And T-shirts sporting erudite jokes. And opinions about tv shows like MadMen.

It was really rather a blast – a Blast of Medieval Historians.

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