Monday, July 31, 2017

Imagining the Past Podcast series: Deborah Challinor and Ngahuia te Awekotuku



HNSA is proud to announce the release of the next podcast in our series 'Imagining the Past'. This week we bring you Deborah Challinor and Ngahuia te Awekotuku chatting with our host, Kelly Gardiner about their love for history, writing and historical fiction. The podcast is a taste of what you will hear at the 2017 HNSA Conference in Melbourne from 8-10 September at Swinburne University Hawthorn. More information about the programme is available at our website.





Deborah Challinor is the author of fifteen bestselling historical fiction novels, two works of non-fiction about the Vietnam War, and a young adult novel. In 2010 she moved from New Zealand to Newcastle, Australia, to write a series of novels set in 1830s Sydney about four convict girls inspired by her own family history, but returned to New Zealand at the end of 2014. She is currently working on a trilogy set in New Zealand, Sydney and Vietnam in the 1950s and 1960s. 

Deborah was born and raised in Huntly, New Zealand, and attended Huntly College. She has a Ph.D in history from Waikato University, wrote an opinion column and feature articles for newspapers, has edited special publications and books, and taught researching and writing historical fiction, and general New Zealand history, at university level for several years. She writes fiction full time, and her books are sold in New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Germany, Russia and Czechoslovakia, and in eBook, audio and large print formats. You can connect with Deborah via her website or Facebook.

You can purchase Deborah's novels, including her latest book int he Smuggler's Wife Series, Cloud Leopard's Daughter, at Booktopia or Amazon.

Ngahuia te Awekotuku was born and raised in Ohinemutu, Rotorua. She is a veteran cultural activist, scholar and LGTQI advocate. As principal author of  Mau Moko : the World of Maori Tattoo (2007), she won many prestigious awards, including Nga Kupu Ora-the Inaugural Maori Book of the Decade. Her book E Nga Uri Whakatupu : weaving legacies (2015), focuses on traditional textiles. Awekotuku also writes poetry and fiction; Ruahine : Mythic Women (2003) are crafted retellings of popular Maori legends about heroic women. Her most recent fiction is Tahuri : a limited edition (2017) about growing up Maori, female, and different in the 1950’s-60’s. She gained a PhD in Psychology in 1981, and retired from professing in 2014, to undertake more creative work. 

Ngahuia will be appearing in our round table discussion at the HNSA Opening Reception and cocktail party on Friday 8th September discussing our conference theme of Identity: Origins and Diaspora. She will be joined by Hanifa Deen, Arnold Zable and Gary Crew, with host Nicolas Brasch, as they consider the role of the historical novelist in exploring first encounters in Australia and New Zealand’s colonial pasts, the migrant experience underlying our nations’ multicultural identities, and whether an author’s origins are relevant to the story telling.

Ngahuia will also chair our 'Authencity or Truth: Does the History in an Historical Novel Need to be Accurate?' with Pamela Hart, GS Johnston, Tim Griffiths and Kathryn Gauci on Sunday 10 September.

Deborah Challinor will be appearing in our 'First Encounters and Our Colonial Past' on Saturday 9th September and will share her 'personal history' alongside Kate Forsyth in conversation with Josie Arnold on Sunday 10th September.


When Kitty and Rian Farrell sail their schooner Katipo III in Dunedin Harbour in 1863, they are on tenterhooks. 

The new Otago gold fields have attracted all-comers, including their friend Wong Fu from Ballarat, who has sent a message for their help. 

To their surprise, Wong Fu reveals he is more than a mere fortune seeker; he is in fact the Cloud Leopard tong master of the Wong family, and his daughter has been kidnapped and taken to opium-ridden China to be forced into marriage. Rian and Kitty agree to try to find Bao, but as they sail closer to their quarry, the stakes jump dramatically. Kitty's adopted daughter Amber is taken during a stopover, and Rian suspects the same party is behind both kidnappings. Little do they know the worst threat lies closer to home. 

The Cloud’s Leopard’s Daughter takes us through dangerous and unpredictable shoals of love, lust, greed and opium in search for two fiery but vulnerable women – puppets in others’ calculated games.


HNSA 2017 Conference

The HNSA 2017 Melbourne Conference is being held on 8-10 September 2017 at Swinburne University. This celebration of the historical fiction genre will showcase over 60 speakers discussing inspiration, writing craft, research, publishing pathways and personal histories in our weekend programme. Among the many acclaimed historical novelists participating are Kerry Greenwood, Kate Forsyth, Deborah Challinor, Libby Hathorn, Lucy Treloar, Sophie Masson, Sulari Gentill, Robert Gott and Arnold Zable. The HNSA’s speakers’ list is available on the HNSA website.

In addition to the two stream weekend programme, there will be ten craft based super sessions and two research masterclasses.You won’t want to miss our interactive sessions on armour and historical costumes either! Purchase a ticket and you will be entered in the draw to win a $100 Dymocks Gift Card.


Our First Pages Pitch Contest offers an opportunity for submissions to be read aloud to a panel of publishers. And we are delighted to announce the introduction of our inaugural HNSA Short Story Contest with a $500 prize!




Let’s make a noise about historical fiction!

Our Imagining the Past Host:


Kelly Gardiner’s most recent book is 1917 (published early in 2017), a novel for young readers set during the First World War. Her previous books include Goddess, based on the remarkable life of the seventeenth century French swordswoman and opera singer, Julie d’Aubigny. Kelly’s historical novels for young adults include The Sultan’s Eyes and Act of Faith, set during the time of the English Civil Wars and the Inquisition. Both books were shortlisted for the Ethel Turner Prize in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. Her books for younger readers are the ‘Swashbuckler’ adventure trilogy – Ocean Without EndThe Pirate’s Revenge and The Silver Swan – set in Malta during the Napoleonic invasion, and a picture book, Billabong Bill’s Bushfire Christmas. Kelly has worked on newspapers, magazines and websites, and her articles, poems, book reviews and travel writing have appeared in journals, magazines and newspapers as diverse as ‘The New York Times’, ‘Marie Claire’, ‘New Idea’, and ‘Going Down Swinging’. She works at the State Library of Victoria and teaches creative writing at La Trobe University. Kelly is also the co-host of Unladylike, a podcast on women and writing. Learn more about Kelly at her website. https://kellygardiner.com/

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