Conflux 12 Guest of Honour!

Now this is a big one! Certainly a career milestone for me, and I’m chuffed to be able to talk about it now: I’m going to be the Special Guest at Conflux 12 in Canberra next year, across the long weekend September 30th to October 3rd, 2016. The official site is here: http://conflux.org.au/

I’m stunned that I’ve been invited to be a Guest of Honour at a con. I’ve always seen it as something famous people do! Conflux was the first convention I ever attended and it’s always had a special place in my heart. To go again in 2016 as the Guest is just mind-blowing. So I hope that any of you who can get to Canberra next year will come along!

The Red Fire Monkey theme should be pretty cool – I’m still not entirely sure what that entails, but I know that among many other things, I’ll be running my Write The Fight Right workshop there. The first place I ran that workshop was Conflux many years ago, so there’s a nice synchronicity there. I need to get myself a Monkey Magic costume organised for the ball.

I’m still pinching myself. More news on all that as it gets more organised over coming months. But put the dates in your diary!

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GenreCon 2015

I went up to Brisbane this weekend for GenreCon. It’s the third (I think) time GenreCon has happened, the second one in Brisbane. It’s run by the Australian Writers’ Marketplace and expertly managed by Peter Ball. Honestly, Peter and his ninjas deserve medals, as it’s a truly professional convention. You can learn more about it here.

I did my Write The Fight Right workshop up there and that seemed to go down very well. Otherwise there was a fantastic selection of panels and keynotes from incredibly talented and interesting writers. GenreCon is every two years, so get yourself organised for 2017.

I uploaded a bunch of photos to my Facebook page here. I wish I’d taken more, but I was too busy hanging with awesome people and having fun.

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Conflux 11 in Canberra this weekend

Conflux-11-300x93I have a soft spot for the Conflux convention in Canberra. It’s on every year over the October long weekend and I haven’t missed one for years. It was the first SFF convention I attended and it’s always one of the best.

This year I can only make it for one day, sadly, but I will be there all day on Sunday. I’m on two panels:

2.30pm – “I felt that!” Vivid prose, wherein I’ll be talking about descriptive writing with Debbie Richardson, Shauna O’Meara and Leife Shallcross.

3.30pm – Dystopian Fiction, wherein I’ll be moderating on the subject with Cat Sparks and Shauna O’Meara.

Otherwise I’ll be around and about all day. The whole con runs from Friday to Monday at the Novotel Canberra, and there’s loads of great stuff happening. So get along there and be sure to come and say hi!

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St Alban’s Writers’ Festival a great success

A shot across St Alban's.
A shot across St Alban’s.

I had a wonderful time this past weekend at the inaugural St Alban’s Writers’ Festival. It was held in the remote(ish) St Alban’s village, on the banks of the MacDonald River in NSW. So remote there was no phone service – it was like being a caveman, with only occasional spots of wifi scattered here and there. Honestly, I thought we were going to have to hunt our own mammoth for food. But it was pretty cool to be removed from everything except the Festival, and that was only one of its charms.

Pierre Stockx
Pierre Stockx

I was very kindly hosted by a fellow called Pierre Stockx, who put me up in his guest room on a 160 acre beef cattle farm. He was the consummate host and made me fry-ups both mornings. You can’t ask for a better billet than that.

Everything was expertly managed by Catherine du Peloux Menagé and her tremendous team. The panels and events were varied and interesting and, as far as I can tell, everything ran like clockwork. I was on a panel about speculative fiction with Traci Harding, Bruce McCabe and Mitchell Hogan, where we established ourselves as the “What if?” crowd. I like that description of spec fic writers – it makes us sound kind of important.

The "What If?" crowd.
The “What If?” crowd.

One of the highlights for me was the opening on the Saturday morning where they arranged a Welcome to Country smoking ceremony, conducted by Col Lyons, an indigenous local. It was a spinetingling moment as the smoke was climbing out of the valley and the didgeridoo and clap sticks were echoing back off the sandstone walls. St Alban’s is on Darkinjung land.

Col Lyons (in the yellow shirt) doing the Welcome to Country smoking ceremony.
Col Lyons (in the yellow shirt) doing the Welcome to Country smoking ceremony.

Another high point for me was a panel on crime fiction with Michael Robotham, Barry Maitland, Nigel Bartlett and P M Newton. It was a fascinating discussion of process and method, but the best bit for me was when an audience member asked if writing crime was adding to the social phenomenon of “crime hysteria” in the mainstream media. Michael Robotham’s answer was brilliant, wherein he suggested that crime writers are no different to people writing ghost stories, tapping into primal fears in order to examine those fears. Then he said, to paraphrase, that maybe people shouldn’t ask why people write crime but why readers read it. Great answer.

Keep an eye here for future festivals: http://www.stalbanswritersfestival.com.au

 

I’m on the telly!

I’m on a show aired by Channel 31 in Melbourne, local community television. But even though it’s local, the wonderful World Wide Web means everyone can see it. At the Continuum convention earlier this year in Melbourne, the fine people from the show Behind The Words interviewed a bunch of writers and publishers and I was lucky enough to be one of them.

You can watch the 24 minute episode here. My bit comes up at the 7.00 minute mark, but watch the whole thing to hear from Leonie Rogers first, then myself, then Dirk Flinthart, then Edwina Harvey, then Gerry Huntman, who gives some great advice from a publisher’s perspective.

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