It’s not often that an opportunity comes along to simultaneously talk about your subject, meet old friends, eat cake and, most importantly, raise money for an excellent cause. But that’s exactly what I’ll be doing on 29 May, the 360th anniversary of the Restoration of the monarchy in the shape of King Charles II. This excellent event is the brainchild of Claire Hobson, a huge fan of the period who’s very active on social media, and is in aid of the mental health charity Mind. More details and a booking link can be found here – it’s all happening at Canada Water library, which is new territory for me, although of course it’s very close to my regular stamping ground in Greenwich (definitely peak ‘Restoration era’ territory!) I’m going to be talking about writing fiction set in the period, and the other speakers are established authorities as well as being people who know how to deliver interesting talks with real ‘zing’. I’m really looking forward to catching up with some people I haven’t seen for ages, such as Rebecca Rideal, author of the brilliant book 1666: Plague, War and Hellfire, and Andrea Zuvich, whose new book on sex and sexuality in the Stuart age should be an absolute must for anybody interested in the era or just, umm, sex. It’ll also be great finally to meet in the flesh some people who I only know from social media, such as Dr Jonathan Healey from Oxford University, whose tweets about 17th century history are always among the best things in my Twitter feed. So if you fancy what should be a fun and informative day in aid of a great cause – and, let me emphasise this once again, with cake too – then do come along!
In other news, I’m hard at work on the third book in the Stannard trilogy, i.e. ‘the one with the Spanish Armada in it’, hence the relatively intermittent blogging at the moment. But it’s interesting how writing fiction sometimes provides ‘lightbulb moments’ which cross over into my serious academic work, and next week, I’ll be blogging about one such interesting insight which recently came along unexpectedly, slapped me in the face and demanded to be publicised to the world. Let’s say no more for now other than it presents an insight into Queen Elizabeth I which no other historian or, indeed, novelist, has ever presented. David Starkey, eat your heart out.