Last weekend I went for a return visit to Edge Lit in Derby. Now in its seventh year it’s a science fiction, horror and fantasy one day event that mixes panels with guest interviews and writer workshops. It’s a nice relaxed feeling and everyone I see at it seems to enjoy the atmosphere which in the sun debating books outside the bar is delightful. A much larger dealers room with ALL the books was of course visited and nice to see Fox Spirit Publishing in fine form. Great to see horror and small press being promoted and for those who write the workshops seemed very popular.
My schedule covered the following
Modern Ghosts: Is the Ghost Story A Nostalgic Act or More Relevant Than Ever?
This was a really interesting debate on how ghost stories fit within horror and within publishing in general. It featured James Everington, Mark Latham, Marie O’Regan, Laura Purcell and Paul Tremblay talking about the history of the ghost story and what it now means. In parts a review of the history of the ghost story; in Victorian times they were almost a comfort to know that death is not the end while today it’s more the ghost that you cannot explain despite our age of rationality that can scare you witless. There was also a discussion on how ghosts are almost the acceptable face of horror in current publishing a story more publishers are willing to accept as that appears to be a horror story the mainstream audience e is willing to try. Certainly, it felt there would be many more hauntings to come.
Brave New Words – Live at Edge-Lit
One of my favourite SF book podcasts (and UK based) did a live recording with the authors RJ Barker, GX Todd and Jen Williams. Producer Al attempted to go through recent book news the rest of the panel…did not. Discussions moved from talking animals, bees fighting in the first world war and other very very sombre debates. Keep an eye out for this on your podcast provider of choice!
The Rule of Three – What is the Appeal of the Trilogy and Will It Ever Fade?
Vic James, Rod Duncan, Mark Latham, Jen Williams and noted non-trilogy author Frances Hardinge discussed why are the shelves full of three-book tales. This moved from the historical angle that three and stories seems to go very well from number of acts to even its use in fairy tales and jokes. Epic fantasy writers see it as able to paint a huge canvas while other authors much prefer after a single story moving onto something completely different. An interesting discussion also took place on the publishing angle – it’s a way of building an author brand as the public know they’ll see books regularly but risks that if Book 1 is seen as flawed there are larger risks that the rest of the trilogy may crash or even not be published. One thing I’ve noticed is that this is an event where writers are a little more likely to discuss the business side of writing which even from a non-writer perspective is often really fascinating.
There was then the Edge-Lit Raffle hosted by Anna Stephens and RJ Barker. This entirely serious event saw lovely book prizes raffled aided by Stephens’ enticing description of tickets ‘herbaceous green’ and Barker demonstrating previously unknown psychic powers predicting the winner of each book…. uncanny-ish.
After that the Gemmell Awards were held and well-deserved awards went to Nicholas Eames (Best Fantasy Newcomer); Richard Anderson (Best Fantasy Cover Art) and Best Fantasy Novel went to Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Fate. Long overdue for Robin Hobb to be recognised
Definitely seemed even more popular and I think worth a trip – also the main theatre has cinema seats which I think sets the benchmark for all future panels (ahem old womble now!). Overall a brilliant day out in the summer sun and a great opportunity to relax in the sun so well worth your time!