Category Archives: Events & Happenings

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Walk with me through Weird London

UPDATE : Joining me on my walk through Weird London will be Tom Pollock, author of The City’s Son, Geraldine Beskin, owner of the Atlantis bookshop, and none other than M John Harrison, arguably among greatest writers of science fiction and fantasy literature of all time.

On Thursday 16th May I’m taking a psycho-geographical tour of the sights to see in Weird London. The nation’s capital has been made weird in some incredible fantasy stories, perhaps most famously today Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. To celebrate the release of Mr. Gaiman’s new novel The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, I’m helping The Guardian create an audio special on Weird London. What are the London locations that have been most memorably made weird in fiction? And who are the best writers making up Weird London?  I’d love to know, and if any of you are free on 16th May, I’d love you to come and tell me about them.

Suggestions for weird locations below, and if you would like to join the tour of Weird London, pop me an email at: damiengwalter@gmail.com

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Upcoming Events *Eastercon Update*

As my winter hibernation comes to end I’m stumbling like an angry bear from my cave for a few events over the next few weeks. (Actually I’m quite a chirpy bear currently, so no fear for any of the events organisers involved!)

  • Saturday 29th March :  Talking at the Afterfutures event in London.
  • 6th – 9th April : EASTERCON! I’m on a couple of panels at this year’s British Science Fiction Association convention, including one on literary sci-fi and another on the nature of conscious (I’m the token non-materialist.) I sense intense debate in the near future…

***EASTERCON UPDATE***I’ll be on the two panels ‘What is I?’ and ‘Mainstream published SF&F”. I’m in friendly disagreement with the premise of both, so they should be lively discussions!

What is I? – Friday, 6pm
We all think we know who and what we are, but the more science delves into the nature of ‘I’ the more ‘I’ seems to disappear. Is consciousness just a figment of our brains, and if so, where does that leave us?

Mainstream published SF&F – Saturday, 1pm
It seems that more and more sf and fantasy is being published outside the genre. Is this an accurate perception, or has it always been there and we just notice it more today? What is the relationship between mainstream and genre – is mainstream science fiction and fantasy really categorically different to that published by genre imprints? What factors influence whether a title is published as mainstream or genre, and what affects whether a mainstream book is picked up by the genre community? If mainstream-published SF&F are on the increase, what does this mean for our perception of the field? Are more diverse authors published outside the genre imprints?

 

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Typography (Photo credit: Auntie P)
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Alt.Fiction 2011

Alt.Fiction has a special place in my heart, as the one and only SF convention I have been to every year for its entire five year history. I’ve even written about it for the GU book blog. This year I’ll be on a number of panels about various aspects of SF writing. I’ll be hoping to start a few good arguments in the panels, and have a good chat with lots of friends in the bar. I hope you’ll be among them.

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Alt.Fiction Festival 2011
25th-26th June
QUAD, Market Place, Derby
Saturday 25th June, 10am – Midnight
Sunday 26th June, 10am – 5pm

Weekend pass £45
Saturday pass £30
Sunday pass £20

Alt.Fiction marks its fifth year with a fantastic weekend for readers and writers of science fiction, fantasy and horror. Bringing together some of the UK’s leading talent in the genre, Alt.Fiction presents a two-day programme of readings, panels, workshops, film, podcasts and much more, giving you the chance to hear from your favourite authors, find out more about the world of publishing and learn more about the writing process.

This year’s Guests of Honour are bestselling science fiction author Alastair Reynolds and acclaimed comic book writer and novelist Dan Abnett. They will joined by speakers Tony Ballantyne, Keith Brooke, Mark Chadbourn, Paul Cornell, Peter Crowther, Stephen Deas, Paul Finch, John Jarrold, Graham Joyce, Juliet McKenna, Graham McNeill, Mark Morris, Adam Nevill, Mark Charan Newton, Sarah Pinborough, Robert Shearman, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Ian Whates, Conrad Williams, Chris Wooding and many more.

Alt.Fiction is truly a weekend not to be missed for book lovers and writers alike.

Contact the QUAD Box Office on 01332 290 606 or visit www.derbyquad.co.uk/altfiction

Visit altfiction.co.uk to find out about Alt.Fiction’s year-long programme of events.

Your chance to argue with Damo

So. This coming Saturday I will be talking about Speculative Fiction, and why it deserves the broadest possible respect and recognition, as part of the States of Independence publishers fair at De Montfort University in Leicester. I’ve been shooting my mouth off about this subject for some time, and now I’m going to do that in a public forum and give anyone interested the chance to challenge me. I think this is going to be fun!

An introduction to speculative fiction with Damien G. Walter
Speculative Fiction is one of the oldest forms of storytelling, with writers from Homer to Shakespeare drawing on the fantastic and supernatural to explore the edges of reality. The genres of Fantasy, Horror and Science Fiction as well as magical realism and fabulism continue in the tradition. Damien G. Walter, writer of weird and speculative fiction and Guardian blogger gives a brief introduction to spec. fiction and why we love it.

Places I will be

Looking at my diary yesterday I realised that I’m doing a number of talks and public events over the next few weeks. This is exciting and , of course, a little nerve wracking. Most of us are drawn to writing as a way to spend large amounts of time alone, in our own imaginations, drinking tea. So it comes as a shock then that writing also involves loads of standing in front of people speaking about things! My next few weeks looks like this:

  • Wednesday 2nd March – Talk on Writing for Social Media and finding your online community  - Beyond Distance Reasearch Alliance, University of Leicester
  • Wednesday 3rd March – Talk on Speculative Fiction and workshop – Loughborough University
  • Saturday 19th March – Speculative Fiction as modern myth – States of Independence, De Montfort University
  • Thursday  31st March – Writing, A Portfolio Career – De Montfort University, Leicester
  • Thursday 3rd April – Writing a story in the window of Waterstones – Crawley LitFest

States of Independence and Crawley LitFest are both public events, so it would be great to see any of you out there at either.

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Alt.Fiction 2010

It may not be the biggest Fantasy, Horror and Sci-Fi convention in the world, or even in the UK, but the Alt.Fiction festival (Saturday 12th June, Derby) is one of my favourites. If some festivals are like a leisurely stroll through SF fandom, Alt.Fiction is the equivalent of a high level triathlon. One day of condensed SF goodness in an easy to swallow and affordable package. Panel discussions, workshops, dozens of pro writers, editors and agents to chat with and a staggeringly cool array of lovely books. Alt.Fiction is especially great for fans and new emerging writers, as a small event it has a very friendly atmosphere and you are almost guaranteed to get chatting with people. And of course I will be there, so really, what more reason do you need to buy a ticket?

If you are going to be at Alt.Fiction, leave me a note bellow and I will see you there!

And for further reading, my think piece on the Alt.Fiction label for The Guardian in 2008.

What do you think about the BSFA awards shortlist?

So no sooner does one event sail under the bridge (yesterday’s Writing Industries Conference went swimmingly, more details tomorrow perhaps) than another comes bobbing along on the white water rapids of life. I will be at the next meeting of the British Science Fiction Association on Wednesday 24th March, and will be discussing the shortlist for the BSFA Awards along with Donna Scott and Sarah Pinborough. The meeting is at the Antelope Tavern in Sloan Square, London from 7pm. (I’m told things start swinging from 5pm onwards however.) If you are nearby then stop in and say hello.

In the mean time, what do you think about the BSFA awards shortlist? I’d like to know.

Reading at Short Fuse – True Romance

I will be reading at Short Fuse again on 16th February. This is my 3rd time reading at the event and I’m glad to be invited back. The night is themed around True Romance, and I will be reading a new short story ‘At the heart of the maze i will find’. More details below:

February 16th at The Y Theatre
Short Fuse presents: TRUE ROMANCE
Love stories for St. Valentines

Greetings card schmaltz be damned; treat your loved one to an evening of passionate readings. And for anyone disillusioned with the whole hearts and flowers myth, expect company in your misery with tales of unrequited love, paranoia and hearts smashed into smithereens! But the main event will cheer the most cynical of souls…

Headliner Paul Burston reads an extract from his critically acclaimed comic novel, The Gay Divorcee. Find out more about Paul’s work at: http://www.paulburston.com/

Also featuring work by talented sci-fi writer, Damien Walter and Flash Fiction King, Joe Evans. Full line-up TBC.

See website for details: http://shortfusefiction.com
Book online at: http://www.leicesterymca.co.uk/y-theatre-whats-on-details.php?listing=773
Tickets £5.50/£4 concs

LOROS Fundraiser Reading

I am doing a special reading on Saturday 30th January, and I would like to invite readers of this blog to attend.

LOROS is a Leicestershire hospice offering care for those who are dying. I was really honoured to be asked by local writer Keith Large to read at a fundraiser event for the charity. My mum passed away in a hospice after a long battle with cancer, and the care that was given to her there made every step of that journey more bearable. I will be reading my short story Cthul-You, and anyone attending will also be treated to poetry, theatre and a reading from non-other than Graham Joyce (*cough* World Fantasy and 5 time British Fantasy Award winner *cough*) It’s also in the city Guildhall, a rather ancient venue which is fitting as the night has a spooky theme.. So. Both a good cause and a good night.

‘A Spooky Night at the Guildhall’ LOROS Fundraiser Event, Leicester Guildhall, 6:30pm on Saturday 30th September. Tickets £10 including wine and nibbles.

How to find your digital readership

Dear world,

I am giving two talks for Writing School Leicester on the 26th October and 23rd November on the genuinely exciting topics of Finding Your Digital Readership and The Entrepreneurial Writer. They are part of a series of five talks also titled New Ways With Writing involving Ross Bradshaw, Will Buckingham and Farhana Shaikh. They are one offs, so miss them and weep!

Get more information and book tickets online

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Not World Con 1

The programme for Not World Con 1 is starting to take shape thanks to contributions from around the world! The programme is very much still open, so please add your suggestions! Check back regularly for programme updates.

GoH / Reading List

Boneshop by Tim Pratt

Richard Morgan’s Thirteen

Anything by Neil Gaiman

Talks & Panel Discussions

6pm GMT – An Audience with Mary Burroughs

7pm GMT – Reviews that aim for the juggular with Luke Burrage

8pm GMT – SyFy or SighFigh with Matthew Sanborn Smith

Entertainments

Flight of the Conchords evening marathon and sing-a-long hosted by Ferret Steinmetz

Not the Hugo Awards

Nominate your favourite books of the year for a Not the Hugo! Nominations will be listed as part of the prgramme. Winners announced at the Not World Con banquet (tickets still available)