THE Arts Society Teignbridge held their special interest day of lectures at Buckfast Abbey Conference Centre, with the novelist, broadcaster and critic Sarah Dunant.

Sarah read history at Cambridge, then worked for many years as a cultural journalist in radio and television on such programmes as Kaleidoscope (BBC Radio 4), The Late Show (BBC 2), and Night Waves/Free Thinking (BBC Radio 3).

She has published thirteen novels, taught renaissance studies in the US, and lectured around the world at festivals and conferences. Her last five novels have been set within the Italian Renaissance. In the Name of the Family completes the story of the Borgia family and the remarkable period of Italian history in which they lived.

Sarah is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4’s A POINT OF VIEW and these talks, alongside her series on history for Radio 4, When Greeks Flew Kites, are available on podcast or BBC sounds.

The Title of the day was: THE SECOND SEX? Women in Italian Renaissance, Art & Society - Courtesans and Nuns!

In the last half century, historians of art and culture have done a fantastic job uncovering the untold stories of the lives of women: painters, visionary nuns, art patrons, proxy rulers and high-class courtesans.

More is known about them than ever before. As a novelist, as well as a historian, Sarahs job has been to bring these discoveries to a wider public through fiction and lecturing.

In the afternoon the audience took part in an interactive “book club”. Before the Study Day, participants read any one of Sarahs books, there was a lively discussion with Sarah who shared what it takes to put accurate history into fiction, including some secrets and some heartaches on the process, probing deeper into the rich, often challenging, work of turning accurate history into page-turning fiction.

As well as this annual event at Buckfast Abbey, The Art Society Teignbridge hold lectures on the second Tuesday of the month at the Courtenay Centre Newton Abbot.