So, summer of 2019 has been a summer of cons, or conventions. Those of us living on the island of Ireland have been really lucky this year, because we had Worldcon in Dublin, followed closely by Eurocon (hosted by Titancon) in Belfast.
I was delighted to be invited to participate in both of these huge conventions. At Worldcon, I sat on a panel discussing ‘Celtic’ fantasy and mythology, where we explained to an international audience that fairies are not always benign little characters with flimsy wings, flitting happily from flower to flower. Our audience were mildly shocked to discover the dangerous reputation of the Irish fairies, or Sídhe. They learned about fairy mounds, fairy trees, and the risks undertaken by digging up or chopping down either of these structures!
I also got to moderate my first ever panel, and what a panel. I had the privilege of discussing ‘imagining Disabled Futures’ with some of the best know experts in the field. We had a full house with many people turned away, and we had had great questions from an enthusiastic and well-informed audience.
So then back up to Belfast, and Eurocon. Once again, I was invited to take part in two panels. The first one was ‘A Closer Look at Anthologies’, moderated by the famous and award-winning editor Ellen Datlow. The second was moderated by my good friend, Catherine Sharpe, and we discussed ‘Medbots, Tricorders and More’, a look at medicine in the future from a SF point of view.
Then, we had a book launch! Distaff, our all-female science fiction anthology. We lured people in with beautiful chocolates, made by Em Tett, cupcakes with our book cover on them and gorgeous bookmarks, then we kept them there with an interview of Juliana Spink Mills, Jo Zebedee and myself by the wonderful (don’t tell him I said that) Paul Corcoran, owner of Castrum Press. Juliana and I read sections from some of the stories in the anthology, and we sold loads of books. Couldn’t have been better.
I got to meet in real life many online friends, who’d travelled from all over the world for these two conventions, as well as some wonderful new people who all had one thing in common: love of SFF fiction.
So now we’re into September and I can take a deep breath, preparing for NaNoWriMo in November (National Novel-Writing Month). Lots of deadlines between now and then, so I need to get those fingers flying across the keyboard.
That’s all for now, but I’ll be writing about writing groups soon. See you then!