“Being Human” and Book Week Scotland

Book Week Scotland

Last week the University of Aberdeen had a festival called “Being Human.” Unfortunately, I was only able to go to one event, a lecture on time, time machines, and the Victorians by one of my professors. It was good research for a book idea I’ve had for years that hasn’t quite gelled yet. The festival also had and interview with Will Self, a talk on Viking funeralscapes, an informal “Skeptics at the Pub” event, and more. I really wanted to go to a talk on the history of disability, and another on terrors, gods, and magic in the north, but between part-time day job, existing studies, and the fact that I was away in Glasgow Thursday and Friday meant that I couldn’t go.

This week is Book Week Scotland. I’m a Patron of Reading for the Aberdeen City Library, so a letter to the library I wrote will be on display within at least one branch, I think. There are some great events on both through the public library and at the University of Aberdeen library, though again, due to the semester nearing an end and the day job needing me for extra hours this week, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to attend any. I’d like to go to the historical crime event on Saturday, and I’m going to at least look at the miniature books on display before my lecture tomorrow at the University library! Tonight there was a bookbinding workshop I wish I could have gone to rather than toiling on my essay. One day, I’ll have free time…! But if you’re free in Aberdeen, you should definitely pop along to some of the upcoming events if you can to celebrate books an libraries.


Literary London: Fantasy in the Court and Broken Monsters Launch

In between the two cons I’ve attended in August were some additional events. Last Tuesday was the Fantasy in the Court event at Goldsboro books, presented by Tor UK and Harper Voyager Books. I was rather excited¬†as it meant meeting my new publisher for the first time! So as the bookstore and street out front filled with genre people, I met my editor, Julie Crisp, my publicist, Sam Eades, and plenty of other people from Tor. I flitted through the crowds, seeing faces I’d just seen at NineWorlds and others I’d see again at Loncon.

After a few hours, we went out for dinner and chatted some more! I was able to meet Lauren Beukes for the first time and she’s the absolute nicest.

Lavie Tidhar, me, Oli Munson, Jason Arnopp

Kim Curran, me, Savannah Lotz, Oli Munson, Mahvesh Murad, Sarah Lotz (this photo and the previous one by Scott Andrews)

Me with Peter F. Hamilton (photo by Julie Crisp)

The next day, Kim and I managed to escape the insanity and had a much-needed massage. Then it was off for more socialising! Wednesday there were about five publishing things on throughout London: The Gollancz Fest, an Orion party, Lauren Beukes’ launch, Titan/Angry Robot signing…and I think something else? Spoilt for choice, I decided on Lauren Beukes’ launch for her new thriller, Broken Monsters, and it was so awesome! I didn’t manage to take any photos of the actual venue, but you can see a bunch here on the Killer Reads blog. There was an app you could use to analyse your tweets to see what sort of monster you are: I had psychopath. The gallery was full of evocative photos of Detroit, where the novel was set, and Monster Munch was a thematically-linked snack provided. The coolest part was writing down a secret on a tag with UV ink, and then pulling back the false wall to the UV lit room behind, where you hung up your secret to reveal it. My secret’s in this photo, but I won’t tell you which one is mine…

Two can keep a secret if one of them is dead (photo by Killer Reads)

It was such a cool event. Lauren did a reading and had a short presentation about her research to Detroit for the book. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into Broken Monsters.

After that was more dinner and then tottering off back to Kim’s to face plant into bed.

Next post…Loncon!


Inverness Book Festival


Cheesily pointing at my name!

On Tuesday, August 6th, I took the train up to Inverness for my first Book Festival appearance at Eden Court. The festival is on until Saturday, so here’s the website with the programme if you know anyone in the area. It’s run in part by Sandstone Press, who are in a way book cousins with Angry Robot/Strange Chemistry, as they’re both distributed by Faber and Faber in the UK.

Before the event, I met the chair of the panel, Kelsey Moore, who is another displaced American who has moved to Scotland. She works for the Moniack Mohr creative writing centre, which is located not far from Inverness. It seems like a wonderful writing centre in a gorgeous setting that runs programmes most of the year, some which are Arvon and some which are not. Kelsey was an excellent chair and really helped put my nerves at ease.

Unfortunately this was the only photo Craig took, where I am stretching!
Unfortunately this was the only photo Craig took, where I am stretching!

The audience at the even was small but enthusiastic, asking excellent questions about Pantomime, my writing process, and the world-building. We touched on the subjects of being an outsider, the role of technology in Ellada, the importance of names, and the melding of different genres. Afterwards there was a brief signing and one girl even asked to take a photograph with me, which was very sweet! 

I got to meet one of my online writing friends, Emma Maree Urquhart, which was lovely! We chatted away and all too soon she had to catch the bus home, but I’ll see her again at World Fantasy Con.

The rest of the time was relaxing in Inverness, which was lovely even if it was raining heavily most of the time. It was a nice wee break in the Highlands.


A huge thank you to everyone at Eden Court & Sandstone Press for arranging the event and being so welcoming.