• Hay Festival Kells 2013

    The Hay Festival has a heavyweight reputation in the world of literary events, so it’s pleasing to see a chapter open up (appropriately) in Kells, home to one of the most famous books in Ireland. This did not come about by chance, as I discovered over the weekend. The town has been working hard for some years to bring the event to Kells, and it’s a perfect match. Kells is just big enough and has enough facilities to host a variety of events, and small enough so the entire town becomes the Hay Festival in a very intrinsic fashion. Irish people are notorious for their hospitality and charm, but even…

  • Independents Day 2013

    On Sunday Lynda Rucker and I visited the Dublin Food Co-Op, which was temporary home to Independents Day 2013. We were there to get a sense of the comic book scene that’s bubbling up and often not well reported, and to do a bit of outreach for Laydeez do Comics – Dublin (more news about our September meeting coming soon!). I always have a soft spot for Co-Ops, especially in these tough economic times, so I loved this place. There was a happy punk vibe going on, with a big variety of tables and dealers, along with a café serving delicious, inexpensive food, and live music later on. There were…

  • 2D 2013 Roundup

    I had a wonderful time at 2D Northern Ireland Comic Book Festival in Derry last weekend. As usual there was fantastic hospitality by the gang from Derry’s Verbal Arts Centre who organised the festival. All of them, including the volunteers, and the admins who most of us never see, did a wonderful job. I arrived in in the city on Friday afternoon, and while my drive up had been easy, the final navigation through the narrow, steep streets was a stressful ten minutes. After lunch, and time to rest, I headed out to dinner where I began meeting many of the other guests of the convention – some of whom…

  • 2D Bound

    Later today I’m starting my journey to Derry, including an overnight stop, for the annual 2D Comic Book Festival. It’s a long way to Derry from Galway, so I’m taking it in stages. The first year I went I did it by bus – never again! With traffic it ended up being over a six hour trip. There were people on the bus going to the festival who travelled nearly three hours to get to Galway, so that was a marathon trip for them. And if you’re travelling from Cork or Kerry..! It’s a testament to the festival’s reputation that comic book creators and fans are willing to travel so…

  • 2D 2013

    I’m delighted to announce I’ve been asked to be a guest at 2D, the Northern Ireland Comics Festival, which is happening from 30 May – 2 June in Derry. It will be my third year attending and my second year as a guest. There is a fantastic list of talented artists and writers attending (including Rob Curley – so Atomic Diner will be well represented). Since this year Derry is Europe’s City of Culture the festival has been extended, and Saturday and Sunday the comic book fair will be in the Millennium Forum (free entry!), along with the Heroes & Legends show. As usual on Friday and Saturday evening there…

  • Journey Planet 15

    The latest edition of the fanzine, Journey Planet, is online (issue 15). It’s edited by Hugo-Award-Winners Christopher J Garcia and James Bacon per usual, but half the issue is guest-edited by writer Lynda E. Rucker, and is termed ‘The Write Stuff’. That section is devoted to conversations with writers about the ins and outs of their profession, and includes people like Mike Carey, Lauren Beukes, Gail Carriger, Robin Hobb, and Seanan McGuire answering questions about some of their high and low points. I have a short piece in it called ‘From Fan to Con-runner to Writer – different experiences of conventions.’ Lynda asked me to write specifically on this subject,…

  • ArcadeCon – Special Guest

    The problem with any announcement on the 1st of April is everyone asks if it’s an April Fool’s joke. In this case it’s assuredly not – I’ve been asked to be one of the Special Guests at ArcadeCon 2013, which is taking place from 5 – 7 July in the Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin. ArcadeCon celebrates the love of fantasy/horror/science fiction and geeky obsessions across all media. Other Special Guests announced so far include: Virginia Hey (Farscape), Darrin O Toole (DOT Comics), The Irish Pubcast, Gareth David-Lloyd (Torchwood), Lucas Wilson (Twinfools in FightingDreamersPro), Nova VandorWolf (FightingDreamersPro), Professor Elemental (Entertainer), Riot Games, and Chipzel (Chip-musician). I’ve known about this since late last…

  • knotting threads

    There have been a number of dangling threads I haven’t knotted off lately, so here are a few things I should mention. First off, FantasyCon in Brighton at the end of last month was a fun and enjoyable convention. I love the city, and a wonderful crowd of people attended. The fire alarm in my hotel went off at 3.30am one morning, and after a late night in the bar this was not a fun wake-up call. I have never heard such a terrible din. My cognitive faculties weren’t the best, but the alarm seemed designed to disrupt any ability to think. I looked like a demented hobo as I…

  • Octocon 2012

    Octocon

    In a few hours I’ll be heading to Dublin for Octocon, the Irish National Science Fiction convention. It’s always a fun event and I’m looking forward to meeting people. Here’s my schedule: Saturday, 13 October Noon in the Abbey Room – Brains, Brains and Brains! With Emmet O’Cuanna, Derek Gunn, and Lynn Moran 1pm in the Pavilion Room – Masterclass in Modern Science Fiction. With Peadar Ó Guilín, and Carol Connolly 5pm in the Tivoli Room – Serialisation vs graphic novels. With C.E Murphy, Michael Carroll, Alan Nolan, and Rob Curley Sunday, 14 October Noon in the Tivoli Room – Why so violent? With Oisin McGann, Heather Turnbull, Celine Kiernan,…

  • FantasyCon 2012

    This evening I’m on a flight to England, followed by a train to Brighton for the annual conference of the British Fantasy Society, FantasyCon 2012. I had a great time at the event last year and I’m very much looking forward to catching up with friends and talking shop. Plus, I love Brighton! Here’s my schedule for the weekend: On Friday, the first day of the con, from 3pm – 4pm in the Fitzherbert Room, I’ll be moderating a panel on Does Gender Matter? My fellow panelists are: Ramsay Campbell, Joseph D’Lacey, Alison Littlewood, and Suzanne McLeod. From 5 pm – 6pm on Saturday in the Fizherbert Room I’ll be…