Whether it's the Wars of the Roses, the French Revolution or the Albigensian Crusade, historian and novelist Isolde Martyn enjoys setting her novels against turbulent times. Her debut novel The Maiden and the Unicorn won the prestigious RITA Award for 'Best First Novel' from Romance Writers of America. Her first two books also won the mainstream 'Romantic Novel of the Year Award' in Australia. Since being published, she has given talks and workshops at conferences in New York, Wiesbaden and Auckland as well as in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Just north of Bristol is the modest town of Thornbury, and for most users of the M5 motorway, it’s just a name on the road sign. Beyond the town, however, lies a palace that was meant to rival Hampton Court. It belonged to Henry VIII’s cousin and rival, Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham. If Edward had his sights on Henry’s crown, his ambition came to an abrupt halt when he was arrested at Thornbury in 1521, taken to the Tower of London and beheaded for treason. I was keen to visit Edward’s beloved Thornbury as he was one of the characters in two of my novels – the boy Ned – in THE SILVER BRIDE and THE DEVIL IN ERMINE. Read more ...
A big thank you to the Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts and Thomas Keneally Centre for videoing so many authors talking about their books. Here's mine. This was shot in a corner of Berkelouw's Bookshop in Hornsby and if I look a little dazed at times, it's because Phil, who was kindly doing the camerawork, kept signalling and giving me the thumbs up.
Has anyone been watching Ben Elton’s comedy series Upstart Crow featuring David Mitchell as Shakespeare? It’s great fun and I’m sure Blackadder fans especially will have been delighted at the wonderful combination of history and humour. Elton chose a Shakespeare play as a theme for each of the 13 episodes. The name Upstart Crow is a quote from Shakespeare’s real life rival, Robert Greene, and the latter is the sinister villain in each episode, beautifully played by actor Mark Heap. What’s rather nice as well is that the homely Anne Hathaway, played by Liza Tarbuck, always features and we get Shakespeare as the family man, too, straddling both his worlds, and always complaining about the coach to Stratford. One of the reasons I’m full of praise for the series is because I’ve been researching that precise timeframe in the late Elizabethan world for my work-in-progress and Ben Elton’s knowledge of the politics is so spot on and beautifully woven in.
Do try watching it on Australia’s ABC iview. Can’t get enough of it!
Plantagenet History Society of Australia
About 15 years ago, six of us started a history society dedicated to the Plantagenet era (Henry II—Richard III). We meet six times a year and our invited speakers are experts from many fields. We now have a Facebook page and you can find videos of the talks we’ve enjoyed from guest speakers such as our patron: Professor Carole Cusack of Sydney University.