Tuesday, July 27, 2021

A Bittersweet Conference

This past weekend Regina and I were both happy and sad to attend Regency Fiction Writers’ 2021 Virtual Conference. We’re sad because it has now been two very long years since we were able to have our annual “girls’ week” together at a conference, the one time in the year where we get to see each other in person. But happy because it was an amazing learning experience!

To backtrack: you may remember Regina’s post last fall about the opening of a brand-new organization for writers of fiction set in the Regency period. Regency Fiction Writers grew out of the now-closed The Beau Monde chapter of Romance Writers of America. And rather than being limited to Regency romance fiction, RFW is open to writers of all fiction set in the “Long Regency”, a period of time from 1780-1840 that saw enormous changes in the world as a whole, not just in Britain. Writers of mysteries, thrillers, fantasies, science fiction (there’s some very cool Regency steampunk out there!) and general fiction set during those years are welcome in the organization.

The workshops reflected that broader mission. Nile Green presented a workshop entitled “Mr. D’Arcy’s Persians: Exploring Regency England through the Eyes of Six Muslim Students”, based on research from his book The Love of Strangers (which I’ve already ordered!) C.S. Harris, author of the Regency-set Sebastian St. Cyr mystery series, was a keynote speaker. And author Tracee Garner gave a wonderful, informative workshop in “Happily Ever After for All: Inclusivity in Your Writing."

Of course, there were more traditionally Regency topics discussed as well. One of my favorite workshops was by Jayne Davis and past NineteenTeen guest Gail Eastwood on Regency Language, and I was attacked by a plot bunny the size of Harvey during Susan de Guardiola’s workshop on Masquerades and Fancy Dress Balls.

There were several other workshops, all excellent, and even a Regency dance party, the Soiree, that included video clips of Regency dancing to replace the dancing that usually takes place at in-person conferences…which will (hopefully) be able to resume next year. But I think RFW will try to continue to present a virtual conference alongside a live one. If you have the least interest in writing about the Regency era, I highly recommend it.

Even though I didn’t get to see Regina. *sigh*

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