Thursday, 7 July 2011

Other Worlds 2 - schedule confirmed

Hi Guys,

Just wanted to pass on the news that the schedule for Other Worlds 2 is now confirmed - as you can see, there's plenty on during the day with all the authors, so should be a great event!


10:30am-11:15am: Strange New Places - Fantasy and SF (Panel)
Marc Gascoigne, Gary McMahon, Andy Remic, Gav Thorpe

11:15am-11:30am: Break

11:30am-12:15: Reading
Andy Remic and Gav Thorpe

12:15pm-1:15pm: Lunch Break

1:15pm-2:00pm: How Publishing Works (Panel)
Peter Crowther, Marc Gascoigne, Gav Thorpe

2:00pm-2:15pm: Break

2:15pm-3:00pm: Reading
Peter Crowther and Gary McMahon

3:00pm-3:15pm: Break

3:15pm-4:00pm: The Dark Side - Horror and Dark Fantasy (Panel)
Peter Crowther, Marc Gascoigne, Gary McMahon, Gav Thorpe

There's still some time to buy tickets - you can book online for just £10 here, which I'm sure you'll agree is a steal!

Thanks a lot


Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Other Worlds is almost upon us...

Hi Guys,

Back again for another blog, which hopefully will make up for some of the intermittent service in the very busy run-up to the Alt.Fiction weekend! This time it's to talk about Other Worlds 2, which is a mere week and a half away in Nottingham.

We're running in the Cecil Roberts Room, which is a nice little space in Nottingham's Central Library, from 10:30am-4pm with a mixture of panels, reading and Q+A time. To be honest, I think that the day is a steal at £10, especially as that includes tea and coffee throughout proceedings and takes in three panels and two readings - basically that breaks down to £2 per session!

The event is a collaboration with both Angry Robot and Nottingham City Council, where it's part of the Festival of Reading. We've got four Angry Robot authors taking part in the shape of Peter Crowther, Gary McMahon, Andy Remic and Gav Thorpe, plus publisher Marc Gascoigne. That covers a great range of styles and genres, and ensures we'll have something for fans of science-fiction, fantasy and horror. No doubt we'll also have a host of insights into the writing process, how to go about getting published and what you can expect once your book hits the shelves.

There's still time to pick up tickets for this one, so be sure to explore some Other Worlds with us on the day!

Full info, and booking, can be found at

Thanks a lot, and hope to see you there!


Monday, 4 July 2011

Alt.Fiction 2011 - my report

Well, what a weekend that was...

It's taken me a while to really have the chance to look back at this year's Alt.Fiction, and on reflection I have to say I was pretty pleased with it all. This was the fifth year of the event, not a bad achievement in itself, and also our first weekend iteration, which again marks a notable development for us.

The difficulty for me in reflecting or indeed reporting on Alt.Fiction is the same every year – I always wind up so busy overseeing things that I end up seeing nothing. So if you want to ask me how the panels were, or what went on during the workshops, or how the readings went down, I'm afraid you're asking the wrong person! But I will say that the feedback on all of those fronts has been great so far, and I'll point you to Un:Bound's fabulous collection of reports here so you can see that for yourself.

My main criteria for how the event goes are probably a tad less interesting than most – primarily, did it all run smoothly and was there a decent crowd for the event. The answer to both of those, ultimately, was a resounding yes. After the usual frantic Saturday morning of trying to make the whole thing look like an event before the doors opened, everything clicked into gear as the sessions began. I've always said that as of about 11am the event runs itself, and that's pretty much the case. Once people know where they're headed, what's on the schedule and what the weekend is all about, the whole thing becomes a great deal easier. We didn't have any significant hiccups over the weekend, just the odd necessary tweak here and there, and from where I was sat the whole thing ran like clockwork.

The audience figures were great too, especially bearing in mind the collective belt-tightening going on up and down the country, and this gave the event a fantastic sense of atmosphere and buzz as the crowds gathered. The other thing – which I always like to see – is just how quiet things became when the sessions began. That says to me that people wanted to go and take part in things, rather than loitering, chatting or drinking, so there must have been something in the programme taking people's interest!

So, without being able to pass much comment on the programme itself, here were some of my personal highlights...
1)Seeing just how much stuff we had managed to rustle together for both the goodie bags and raffle respectively. That was a lot of boxes when I arrived on Friday night, and a lot of work by all the volunteers to sort it all out, but two free books and two magazines per bag isn't bad going.
2)Saying hello to some old friends. Unfortunately there were probably too many occasions where it wasn't much more than hello, but there you go. There would simply be too many names to tip the hat to, but it was great to be among friends in running things.
3)A very enjoyable meal on the Sunday night to round the weekend off – having barely had a chance to stop since Friday night, it was good to have some social time and a hearty meal. Trust me – eating is one of the first things to go by the wayside when you're running an event...
4)Having the chance to get my books signed! It was my New Year's resolution to get more signed books, especially bearing in mind the number of authors that I have involved in events, and this is one resolution I have managed to stick to admirably so far.
5)Probably the thing I enjoy most about the event – people coming up to say how much they've enjoyed the weekend. It's great to know that your work has enabled people to enjoy something fun, useful and hopefully memorable. That's ultimately the reason why you get involved in these things in the first place.

I won't pass on the full thank you list here, but would like to make a nod to all the authors who took part, all the publishers who supported the event, Adele and co for their sterling work on the podcasts, all of our volunteers, the staff at QUAD over the weekend and of course Catherine, Aimee and Antonia at Writing East Midlands for all their support and help. If there's anyone I've forgotten, I apologise right now – the whole thing is a huge team effort, and I couldn't dream of doing it without a huge amount of backing and assistance!

No time to rest on our laurels, mind, as we're not far from our Other Worlds 2 event in Nottingham, which takes place on the 16th July. And if you'd like to check that one out, you can do so here – I'll be blogging more details nearer the time.

Thanks a lot!