Chalke Valley History Festival: Interview with Katie Hickman

Katie Hickman

What are you doing at Chalke Valley History Festival this year?

I'll be talking about my latest book, 'Brave Hearted: The Dramatic Story of Women of the American West.' Why do you think Chalke Valley History Festival is an important event to attend? Chalke Valley is a history festival! Ticks all the boxes for me!
Chalke Valley History Festival: Interview with Katie Hickman
Katie Hickman

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Chalke Valley History Festival: Interview with Katie Hickman
Brave Hearted. The Women of the American West by Katie Hickman

What inspired you to do a talk on this subject?

For many years now I have had a beautiful book of old black and white photographs, called simply 'Women of the West', sitting on my bookshelves. I came across it quite by chance in the famous English-language bookshop, Shakespeare & Co, in Paris. From time to time I'd take it down and leaf though these extraordinary images of women - white, Black and Native American - on the mid-nineteenth century trails west, and wonder about them. Who were they and what were their stories? Our traditional images, even today, of 'the Wild West' are so incredibly male, I knew that one day I had to write about the women. It took me more than a decade to get round to it, but 'Brave Hearted' is the result.
Ancestry UK

What have you learnt in your preparations for the event?

I realised many years ago, when I first started speaking at literary festivals, that (somewhat counter-intuitively) you can be TOO well prepared for these things. I like to feel that I am speaking to my audiences, not lecturing them. I love my subject so much - and it is this enthusiasm that I want to convey, as well as some of the truly extraordinary stories I tell in the book. Where can people find you at the festival? I'm speaking at 7.30pm on Friday 30th June in the Evelyn Partners Tent.
Chalke Valley History Festival: Interview with Katie Hickman
Chalke Valley History Festival. Image by Ash Mills
Chalke Valley History Festival: Interview with Katie Hickman

Katie Hickman

Katie Hickman is the best-selling author of ten books. Her most recent work, Brave Hearted, was preceded by She-Merchants, Buccaneers and Gentlewomen: British Women in India 1600 - 1900 (published in 2019), and by the highly-acclaimed series of novels, The Aviary Gate, The Pindar Diamond and The House at Bishopsgate, a trilogy set in early seventeenth century Constantinople, Venice, London, and rural Wiltshire. She is also the author of two best-selling history books, Courtesans and Daughters of Britannia, which between them have sold more than quarter of a million copies worldwide. Her other works include two travel books, Travels with a Mexican Circus (republished by Bloomsbury in August 2014) which was shortlisted for the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award in 1993, and Dreams of the Peaceful Dragon, the story of a journey on horseback across the forbidden Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. Her first novel, The Quetzal Summer, was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young British Writer of the Year Award. Her books have been translated into 20 languages. Katie Hickman lives on a converted barge on the Thames in London with her partner, the designer Matthew Ruscombe-King.
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