Last weekend, I went to Alt.Fiction 2011:
Alt.Fiction brings you an extensive programme of Horror, Fantasy and Science Fiction literature events. Our flagship Alt.Fiction Literature Festival has been running since 2006 with an exciting mix of panels, readings, workshops and podcasts. Featuring leading authors, agents and editors, it is a celebration of all things genre fiction. In 2010, Alt.Fiction became a Writing East Midlands brand, evolving in to a year round programme of events taking place across the East Midlands and beyond.
We’re excited to be delivering our first two day festival in Derby this June, as wellas more intimate evenings throughout the year, with leading lights in Science Fiction such as Iain M. Banks, to interactive panels with industry experts. Alt.Fiction’s events are for fans and writers alike.We invite you to join us on a tour-de-force of alternative fiction!
I haven’t missed an AF since they started and they just keep getting better and better! When it moved from the Assembly Rooms to Quad last year, I was a bit worried that the smaller venue might not be able to cope. True, there isn’t as much milling-about space as over the square but this year confirmed that the panels and workshops are far better served by Quad. Also, the newly refurbed Quad cafe was a wonderful place to author spot:
The best instance of this was when I was sitting and chatting with Tony Ballantyne and Ian Sales. We were, as usual, talking about favourite authors and I was wanking on about Jon Courtenay Grimwood and how much I love his books and would love to know what he’s up to / when the next book is out. Ian piped up, “Why don’t you ask him – he’s sitting over there!”
Sure enough he was, so I went and got the snap above. That’s the joy of AF, you pay a tiny amount of money for what you get: panels and workshops from the top authors in their genres. I went to every panel I could and I heard so much amazing advice for budding writers that it put my entire year of taking Creative Writing at Derby Uni to shame. It was an intense weekend, I can’t seriously pick out any highlights because everything I attended was of such a high calibre. One thing I can say: every panel needs more Sarah Pinborough! 🙂
This year’s guest of honour was Alastair Reynolds. He delivered an intimate, funny ramble about his career and I was quite bewildered that I was sitting there, listening to yet another of my favourite authors speak in person.
Alt.Fiction 2011 ticked every box for me and then some. I had sooo many chats with people, talked about so much SF, politics, films, music. The only downside of AF is that it makes me realise how isolated I am the rest of the year. The net is fine and all but there’s something special about meeting and conversing with other geeks in person.
I am already waiting for Alt.Fiction 2012! 🙂