For lovers – and writers – of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror fiction, the one event you need to book (pun intended) is Alt.Fiction festival in April. Back once again for the best of alternative fiction, this year’s festival is a new; more lean and refined, version designed to encompass more of the social elements.
I cannot deny that I was at first disappointed in learning that Alt.Fiction was slimming down their programme. However, I recall all too well the sheer mental exhaustion in trying to cram three hours worth of workshops (these being Paul Kane’s Heroes and Villians seminar, Paul Balatyne’s Science and Exposition workshop, and the Dark Fantasy discussion with Raven Dane and Kim Lakin-Smith). I was so brain-burned afterwards, that I needed to chill out, and found myself having a chat about gaming and fantasy fiction over a beer with Gav Thorpe!
For those who may be wondering if they will find themselves twiddling their thumbs, fear not: organiser Adele assumes us that “Alt.Fiction is slimming down the programme because the social element has always been important to the festival and it seemed important to allow time for that. We have fourteen panels, six workshops and a variety of other things going on, so there is still plenty going on.”
The workshops currently planned include:
Alex Davis running one of his popular short story workshops, Guy Adams will be running a workshop on dealing with an audience, Clarke Awards’ Tom Hunter will be talking about self-promotion and online marketing, Mark Chadbourn will offer an interactive lecture on the business of writing, Kim Lakin-Smith will be Getting Steaming: Putting the Punk into Alternative History, and Fruit Bruise will be running the first of a series of workshops looking to work on an anthology with emerging and excluded writers.
As you can see, this program of workshops encompasses more than just writing itself, but business and marketing aspect (you can write all you want, but you will not get anywhere unless you promote yourself!).
Guest of Honour for this year’s Alt.Fiction include:
Ken MacLeod is a multi award-winning author of many science fiction novels, including the Fall Revolution quartet, the Engines of Light trilogy, and several stand-alone novels.
Mark Chadbourn is an award-winning author, a screenwriter for BBC Drama. The author of sixteen novels and one non-fiction book he is a two-time winner of the British Fantasy Award.
Tom Hunter is Director of the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Science Fiction Literature.
Described as “Britain’s most respected living horror writer”, Ramsey Campbell has been given more awards than any other writer in the field. He has been the recipient of the Grand Master Award of the World Horror Convention, the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Horror Writers Association and the Living Legend Award of the International Horror Guild.
Andy Remic is the author of many novels, including Spiral, Quake, and Warhead. Andy also runs Anarchy Books publishers.
Terry Martin is the publishing editor of Murky Depths, organiser of The House of Murky Depths and their Young Adult imprint Murkee, as well as being a writer and an artist.
Paul Cornell is a writer of SF and fantasy in prose, comics and television, and the only person to have been Hugo Award nominated for all three media. His first urban fantasy novel, Cops and Monsters, will be released in October.
Kim Lakin-Smith is the author of Tourniquet, Cyber Circus, and Queen Rat. Her dark fantasy and science fiction short stories have appeared in various magazines and anthologies including Black Static, Interzone, and Celebration.
Paul Kane is an award-winning writer and editor. He is the author of The Gemini Factor and the bestselling Arrowhead trilogy. His non-fiction books are The Hellraiser Films and Their Legacy and Voices in the Dark.
Marie O’Regan is a British Fantasy Award-nominated horror author and editor. She has had fiction published in the UK, USA, Canada, Italy and Germany, and her first collection, Mirror Mere, was published by Rainfall Books in 2006.
Don’t think that Alt.Fiction is merely for writers, budding or otherwise. Yes, there is a significant number of workshops for writers, but there will be several panels designed to actively encourage group discussion (rather than a formal Q&A during the final few minutes of a talk). There is of course the opportunity to meet and talk to some of the best minds in genre fiction, who are also some of the friendliest (and strangest) bunch of people you can meet.
My thanks to Adele of Alt.Fiction for taking the time to answer my questions.
Source : www.altfiction.co.uk