The Robin Hood files – a virtual talk with Q&A

I was supposed to be travelling to Nottinghamshire in the spring of 2020 to give a talk at the Inspire History and Imagination Readers’ Day. I was going to talk about Robin Hood, the history, the truth behind the man and my take on the iconic outlaw. That didn’t happen for obvious reasons (Covid-19). So this year we are going to resurrect the event – on Monday, March 15, at 6pm – as a virtual talk from comfort and safety of my little office in Kent.

You may feel that you’ve had enough of virtual meetings and other online events, but I think this might actually be rather a lot of fun so I am inviting all my readers to join me then anyway. Click here to order your tickets – it is only £3 but they are selling fast so get on it right now, if you want to attend.

I’m not quite sure of the format (basically, I haven’t written my speech yet) but you can safely assume I will be talking about Robin Hood, his place in history, how the outlaw has changed over time. For example, he was a much more humble man in the High Middle Ages to the aristocratic figure beloved by the Victorians – and he is seen in quite a new way now, by writers like, um, me. I’ve re-imagined him as a sort of medieval gangster.

I will also be talking more generally about how history has sparked my imagination, and about my career as a historical novelist. I adore history and one of the things I like so much about it is the number of weird and wonderful stories it throws up. Just off the top of my head, I am writing today about the Dane-Work, a massive wall and ditch that ran all the way across the bottom of the Jutland Peninsula in the 8th century, and marked the boundary between the German lands and the Danish ones. Without it, there probably wouldn’t be a country called Denmark now. You can read more about the Dane-Work in my new novel The Last Berserker, which comes out on February 11 (eBook) and 25 (paperback). See pic below.

As a tool for the storyteller, I believe history is invaluable. In fact, I think it is much easier to write a novel based on history, than to write one that is totally made up. When I was writing my (totally made-up) fantasy novel Gates of Stone, which is set in a sort-of magical 18th-century Indonesia, I kept returning, again and again, to actual history for plot inspiration.

But the main focus of my virtual talk will be Robin Hood – one of the most important cultural figures in Britain from the Middle Ages to the present day. At least I think so. I hope I’ll get the opportunity to hear what you think

Come along and chat to me virtually on Monday March 15 at 6pm. Get your ticket here and when I’ve done my talk you can ask me anything you like.

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