2014 Harrogate History Festival, Old Swan Hotel

Kate Worsley winner of the Historical Fiction Award.

Kate Worsley winner of the Historical Fiction Award. - Credit: Archant

Leading writers including Peter Snow, Sandi Toksvig and Bernard Cornwell headed the Harrogate International Festivals History Festival which explored the crooks and crevices of historical writing.

The festival, in its second year and held in association with the Historical Writers’ Association, took place at the Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate.

Bernard Cornwell, author of the Sharpe series, adapted to TV with Sean Bean, travelled from the United States for his appearance and was presented with the festival’s award for outstanding contribution to historical fiction.

Sandi Toksvig interviewed by Manda Scott, chair of the Historical Writers Association, revealed the books she would choose if she were stranded on a desert island and Peter Snow gave an insight into events surrounding the burning down of the White House in Washington by British troops in 1814.

Other special guests included James Naughtie, Elizabeth Chadwick, Elizabeth Fremantle, broadcaster and former presenter of the Late Show Sarah Dunant, Guardian writer Charlotte Higgins and the author and journalist Stephanie Merritt writing as S.J. Parris. Simon Scarrow appeared in conversation with Harry Sidebottom.

Dr Irving Finkel, the assistant keeper of the Ancient Mesopotamian script at the British Museum, discussed his quest to reveal a radical interpretation of the Noah’s Ark myth. Former adventurer and English teacher Conn Iggulden, whose worldwide bestseller Dangerous Book for Boys, was a publishing phenomenon also headlined with his War of the Roses series.

Sharon Canavar, chief executive of Harrogate International Festivals, said: ‘History is in the throes of a cultural renaissance dominating our bookshelves and TV screens. It was a fantastic opportunity to grapple with leading literary minds on some of the most gripping conflicts, personalities and epic tales in history.’

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Our photographs are from the opening party and the festival’s historical fiction awards evening.