Travel, writing, marking essays, launching Midnight and Moonshine, editing, applying for jobs… Any and all of these things explain my general lack of updatery lately. That’s no excuse, you say? True. True. So I shall endeavour to fill you all in on the events of the past month in a short series of Mega-Catchup Posts — beginning with this one.
Basically, the World Fantasy Convention was awesome. It was the first one I’d attended — thanks, in large part, to a Professional Development grant I’d received from Arts SA (thank you, Arts SA!!) — and I still can’t believe what an amazing time I had in Toronto. For some reason, I imagined that I’d arrive at the con, not knowing too many people (a few, luckily!) and that all of the other, more established authors would have their other, more established circles of friends and that I’d wind up like a wallflower at the school dance, watching all the cool kids have fun while I scoped out the nearest exit. Well, that was SO NOT THE CASE.
Everyone was incredibly friendly, warm, and amazingly welcoming — honestly, this post is going to be filled with nothing but gush — and I was so happy to hang out with the lot of them for four days. Hurricane Sandy might have put a damper on the weather, but luckily the hotel bar had heat aplenty: fiery conversations, drinks, and the friction of elbows rubbing.
It’s so hard to pinpoint only a few highlights of the convention, but I’ll do my best.
1) READINGS and SESSIONS
It was fantastic getting to hear so many authors read their own works; to see the Guests of Honour in their sessions; and to get the chance to do a reading myself, from Bluegrass Symphony. Particular favourites were: Rob Shearman (pictured left. If you ever get a chance to see Rob perform one of his stories, take it. He is, hands down, the BEST at live readings. I’ve used the word “perform” intentionally: Rob seems to have memorised every word he’s written, and he acts the stories out. Pure gold.), Cat Rambo, Garth Nix, Julie Czerneda, Simon Strantzas and Kathleen Jennings (pictured right). I loved Jeff VanderMeer’s interview/discussion session with Guest of Honour, Liz Hand; also loved the relaxed session Charles de Lint, Mary Ann Harris, and Charles Vess did — including spontaneous jam session by Charles D and Mary Ann! And inspiration struck for a new story while listening to Sean Williams, Holly Black and Graham Joyce talk about changelings…
2) THE BAR and DINNERS
Not for the quality of the drinks or the service, which were meh, but for the company. CAVEAT: This is the part of the post where I’m going to sound like a pretentious wanker, name-dropping. But I can’t avoid mentioning people by name, unless you want to play a guessing game about who I’m referring to: “You know, the Canadian guy with the long beard? Or that British author with the book?” So, yes. Names galore! I LOVED getting to catch up with lovely Rob again; meeting all of the everyone from and/or related to ChiZine: Brett, Sandra, Helen, Laura, Simon, Michael, OMG I’M FORGETTING PEOPLE! Sorry!; also loved getting to FINALLY meet Ann VanderMeer in person, and to see Jeff again, and to have a most wonderful dinner on Saturday night with them and Karin Tidbeck, her lovely friend (whose name I’ve forgotten, but who told some very saucy stories on the way to the restaurant!), Kathleen, Liz Hand and John Clute (pictured far above)); loved meeting John Berlyne, Lavie Tidhar, Aliette de Bodard, Cat Rambo, and OMG Amal El-Mohtar, Claire S.E. Cooney (gorgeous Preraphaelites!), Doselle Young; also loved getting to spend some time with Sean, Alisa, Jonathan, Garth, Isobelle, Emily — the small, but awesome, Australian contingent…
I’m sure I’m forgetting people. And the point of all this wankery is not to show off, but to emphasise how great it was to meet people at this convention. Not just “see” them on Facebook, but actually get the chance to have face-to-face, 3D, LIVE WITH ALCOHOL conversations. If it wasn’t for all of these awesome people, then I’d have had a really drab time.
3) THE AWARDS
Sure, I didn’t win ‘Best Collection’. But I honestly don’t care. THE FIRST BOOK I HAVE PUBLISHED WAS NOMINATED. This, to me, is an award in itself. I lost out to TIM FREAKING POWERS. GAWD, what more could you ask for?! I got a little miniature Lovecraft head to wear on my name badge all week, even though I didn’t get the big ugly one to put on my bookshelf. I got to get all dolled up and have a lovely banquet lunch with excellent company. I got to see Ann and Jeff win for The Weird. And got to see Lavie give the shortest acceptance speech of all time while winning Best Novel for Osama. Joy, all around.
4) THE BOOKS
I got so many, I had to ship 3 boxes home. Need I say more? (Will post pics when the boxes arrive!)