Category Archives: Conventions

Border Sessions 2018

Border Sessions is a yearly tech culture festival on a mission to kick-start and fuel challenging ideas, experiments and endeavours, with a strong focus on multidisciplinary projects. The program is built around five main tracks: Humanity, Society, Cities, Nature and And Beyond. This year I was thrilled to be invited to speak at the conference on 14 June.

The festival is held in The Hague, with the conference staged across the Theater aan het Spui and the adjacent Filmhuis Den Haag.

I was interviewed by the brilliant Arno Wielders, co-founder of the global initiative Mars One. We spoke about The Osiris Project and Paris Adrift as well as discussing speculative fiction and the writing life.

The festival has a wonderfully wide-ranging programme and on the same day I was able to attend a presentation on Ocean Floor Restoration – ideal for current writing research.

A huge thank you to everyone at Border Sessions for inviting me! If you’d like to find out more about the festival, take a look at the website here.

Fantasy in the Court and Nine Worlds 2015

I’m looking forward to two events this week – on Thursday 6 August, I’ll be at Fantasy in the Court in the evening alongside a host of SFF writers. Fantasy in the Court is hosted by the marvellous Goldsboro Books (Cecil Court, London) in association with Hodderscape. Find out more and book tickets here.

Friday 7 – Saturday 9 August is Nine Worlds Convention at the Radisson Blu Edwardian, Heathrow, London. This is my first time at Nine Worlds; according to the website: “It’s about gaming, film, cosplay, fandom, literature, science, geek culture, meeting people and having a really big party.” (Sounds good to me.) I’ll be there Saturday and Sunday and participating in a panel on Sunday afternoon:

“The Stars My Destination” – Exploring the Future of SF – 1.30pm – 2.45pm, Sunday 9 August
We’re living in a science fiction world, where technology and global warming are changing things faster than sci-fi writers can type: so where does the future of sci-fi sit?
Gavin G Smith, Paul McAuley, E. J. Swift, Matt Suddain, Naomi Foyle

Exciting! You can find out more about Nine Worlds here.

LonCon3: Postscript

So, this weekend was LonCon3, and in the by now familiar spirit of cons, a mad, exhausting and marvellous one it was, full of all-too-brief meetings with new friends and old. I can’t imagine how much work went into programming such a vast event – huge thanks to all the organisers and volunteers who have done such an amazing job.

Highlights included meeting Frances Hardinge and Greer Gilman for the “You Write Pretty” panel on the Saturday (Frances was by far and away the winner with her Jabberwocky quote, but I’m still holding out for Jennifer Egan), and a thought-provoking discussion with David Hebblethwaite and Anne Charnock for the “Bridging the Gap” panel on Sunday. Also a big thank you to Adam Roberts who joined us at the last minute as our moderator was unable to be there on the day.

The Del Rey party on Saturday night was a lovely relaxed affair – thanks to everyone who stopped by and chatted (and to those who took a book! I do hope you enjoy). Blogger Voltron followed, and it was great to get the chance to put a few Twitter handles to faces.

As always, I didn’t get to see as many panels as I planned, but “The World at WorldCon: South and South East Asian SF” was fantastic, and I really enjoyed “My Opinions: Let Me Show You Them”, with a panel full of bloggers on the Sunday. I also managed to attend the NewCon launch and pick up a copy of Nina Allan’s wonderful new novel The Race.

By Sunday evening I was more than ready to swap the windowless hangar of the ExCel for the sofa, so followed the Hugo excitement from afar – only to learn that had I stayed, I might have caught a glimpse of David Tennant.

Next time.

Upcoming events – WorldCon & Fantasy in the Court

A couple of events updates: firstly I’ll be attending Fantasy in the Court, an evening for fans and writers organized by Goldsboro Books on Tuesday 12 August, which already has a fantastic line-up of authors.

I’ve also received my draft schedule for this year’s WorldCon (Thursday 14 – Monday 18 August), and from everything I’ve seen it’s shaping up to be a really interesting programme. I’m down for the following panels:

You Write Pretty

Friday 21:00 – 22:00

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, they say, so let us behold some fine fantastical sentences. Our panel have each picked a sentence, and will have a chance to make their case for why theirs is the fairest of them all — but it will be up to the audience to decide.

with Geoff Ryman (M), Greer Gilman, Frances Hardinge, Christopher Priest, E. J. Swift

Bridging the Gap

Saturday 16:30 – 18:00

Iain Banks’ work was famously divided into ‘mainstream’ and science fiction, but this division wasn’t always applied consistently. For example, Transition was published in the UK as mainstream fiction, while in the US it was classed as science fiction, and Banks himself declared that it was ‘51% mainstream’. This sort of boundary blurring can be seen in both ‘slipstream’ texts and in mainsteam works that engage with science fiction. In this panel we will discuss writing that crosses boundaries – real or imagined – between science fiction and the mainstream. How has the divide been understood and characterised? How has this changed over time? Who is currently writing across this divide and to what effect?

with Preston Grassman (M), Anne Charnock, David Hebblethwaite, Grá Linnaea, E. J. Swift

Looking forward to both of those!

A few updates

Somewhat belatedly, evidence of me, Liesel Schwarz and Mark Hodder at the Del Rey UK launch at FantasyCon in Brighton. This was a lovely day. I met up with Liesel beforehand at London Victoria. Thanks to the vagaries of Southern Rail cancellations, we spent the journey down to Brighton sitting in the luggage rack (never say there’s no glamour in publishing), but all was worth it when we arrived and got to see proofs of our books for the first time. The OSIRIS cover artwork was still being tweaked, so Del Rey had produced a short run of this cool black and white cover. Needless to say I nabbed copies of Liesel’s and Mark’s books (A Conspiracy of Alchemists, and A Red Sun Also Rises respectively), both of which look fantastic – I can’t wait to read them.

This week, I was sent a new proof of the UK OSIRIS with the actual cover. Isn’t it pretty! It’s released in the UK on 7 February 2013, and you can pre-order from Amazon here.

Lastly, here’s a link to an interview with fellow Night Shade author Paul Tobin as part of his author-to-author series. This was a really fun one and he’s also interviewed Jeff Salyards, Adam Christopher, Chris Roberson and others as part of the series, which you’ll find on the blog.



FantasyCon 2012 and Del Rey UK launch

New imprint Del Rey UK, who will be publishing OSIRIS in the UK next February, are launching at FantasyCon in Brighton on Saturday. The launch is at 5.00 – 6.00pm in Bar Rogue (check out the timetable here). I’ll be there alongside Del Rey authors Liesel Schwarz and Mark Hodder.

The artwork for Liesel’s and Mark’s books was revealed recently on the Del Rey blog, and it looks ace! I can’t wait to see what the designers come up with for OSIRIS. In the meantime, they’ve produced a dead snazzy black and white cover design for a short run of ARCs, which I believe will be at FantasyCon. Exciting!

Chicago in pictures

My trip to Chicago was rounded off with, somewhat inconveniently, moving house. After a beautiful ten days in 27 degree clear skies, I returned home, packed, moved, cleaned, and cleaned some more. I’ve finally got round to digging out my photos and it appears I mostly took pictures of skyscrapers, plants, and the zoo.

This was my first trip to the States and Chicago was a fantastic city to begin with. I stayed with two artist friends, Chris Kemp and Dominique Larson, and had a few days on either side of WorldCon to hang out with them and explore the city. I had previously only seen photos of Chris’s work and finally I got to see it in person. He works on huge MDF Board canvasses, and the paintings have a strong architectural influence (check out his website here, they really are amazing). Wandering around downtown Chicago I could see why. It was quite a surreal experience to be in a city full of skyscrapers for the first time, having written a novel set in a city entirely made of skyscrapers.

I had a similar experience when I went with Mini to her old studio to collect some work, and saw this unfinished painting hanging on the wall:

Dominique painting

Work in progress by Dominique Larson

Quite apart from this being a beautiful painting, there’s something eerily Osiris-y about it that grabbed me straight away. Dominique kindly let me post a photo here although the painting is unfinished as yet (I will be posting the final version if she lets me!). It’s the first in a triptych of work which I can’t wait to see.

Night Bazaar party

Left to right: authors Katy Stauber, Bradley Beaulieu, Teresa Frohock, Stina Leicht, Doug Hulick (back row) and Anne Lyle, Martha Wells, Courtney Schafer, and me at the Night Bazaar party

I’d been nervous about attending WorldCon before the trip, but I ended up having a great time. I did my first panel on Self-Editing Your Fiction and did a reading from OSIRIS. In particular, after several months of planning the Night Bazaar party by email, it was wonderful to finally meet the Night Shade crew: Bradley Beaulieu, Betsy Dornbusch, Teresa Frohock, Kameron Hurley, Stina Leicht, Courtney Schafer, Katy Stauber, Martha Wells and the mysterious Mazarkis Williams. Courtney had organized everything brilliantly, Katy had brought bugs, and I was amazed that people were prepared to actually eat them in order to get a book. All of the free books we brought had gone by the end of the night. Sadly I don’t think anyone managed to get a picture of them in all their glory, but Courtney has a few more pics of everyone on her blog, here. I’m not sure I’ll be able to make San Antonio next year, but now that WorldCon is coming to London in 2014, I’m hoping some of the Night Bazaar crew will make it over to our side of the pond…

I spent my last few days wandering about the beach, visiting Navy Pier, the zoo and the conservatory, raiding the vintage shops (they were good) and Chris and Mini took me to the Green Mill jazz club, where Al Capone used to hang out, which felt like a proper Chicago experience. Given the chance, I would definitely go back… So a massive thank you once again to everyone who helped get me over there – you guys rock.

Postcards from Chicago

WorldCon schedule

Chicago is only two weeks away – this will be my first trip to the States and it’s starting to feel very exciting! Not only will I be going to my first ever WorldCon but I get to catch up with two super talented artist friends I haven’t seen in years. I can’t wait for them to show me their city.

I’ll be at ChiCon for the full weekend, but you can find me here:

Friday 31 August, 10.30am (Crystal A)
Self-Editing Your Fiction
Many authors love to write the first draft, but hate to revise. Others have nothing against revising, but don’t really know what to change or how to change it. How can fiction writers gain distance from their own work, discover what needs to be changed, how to change it, and not lose interest while changing it?
Carrie Vaughn / Don Mead / E J Swift / Jeanne Cavelos (mod) / Rick Wilber

Friday 31 August, 7.00pm (Party suite 2576)
Night Bazaar party
Come, crush a cup of… well a bug, probably. Come say hello any time from 7pm, I’ll be with these fantastic Night Shade authors: Bradley Beaulieu, Betsy Dornbusch, Teresa Frohock, Kameron Hurley, Stina Leicht, Jeff Salyards, Courtney Schafer, Katy Stauber and Martha Wells. Judging by the planning correspondence, rum and bugs are set to feature heavily, and of course there’ll be loads of books to giveaway.

Saturday 1 September, 6.00pm (Addams room)
What it says. From my debut novel OSIRIS (here’s a link to a few reviews)

A huge (but surely not the last) thank you to all the wonderful people who supported me to raise funds for the trip – I wouldn’t have been able to go without your help. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!