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Cardiff gets horrifically horrible with Scardiff
October 20, 2014 | 3:34 pm

The Welsh capital received an horrific visitation last weekend in the shape of Scardiff, " the first Cardiff horror expo," and a celebration of "all things horror: books, comics, movies, cosplay, the works." And according to attendees, Cardiff Masonic Hall was overrun by a zombie-like horde of attendees, foaming with rabid enthusiasm for the events and attractions. The program at Scardiff included "horror-themed cosplay comps with prizes and custom-made trophies," an SFX scareoff, tabletop gaming, a low-budget filmmaking workshop, and - last but not least for budding horror writers - "a live pitching session for budding novelists, led by Scott Harrison...

Russell Brand to give Reading Agency lecture
October 14, 2014 | 10:25 am

The ever-more-serious UK comedian Russell Brand will deliver this year's Reading Agency lecture, "'a manifesto on reading" and the third lecture since the inception of the series in 2012, as well as the first one to be open to ticket-holding members of the public. "The Reading Agency lecture is a fundraising event, proceeds from which support the charities' core mission, to get and keep the nation reading," as The Reading Agency's materials declare. Previous speakers in the series were Jeanette Winterson and Neil Gaiman, who gave a highly praised talk also on the importance of reading. Brand couched the theme of...

Edinburgh International Book Festival holds autumn event for Marilynne Robinson
October 10, 2014 | 2:25 pm

The Edinburgh International Book Festival, more familiar as an August fixture, is hosting an exceptional out-of-season event on the occasion of a visit by American author Marilynne Robinson, recipient of many awards including the 2005 Pulitzer Prize, the 2009 Orange Prize for Fiction, the 2008 LA Times Book Prize and the 2004 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, as well as the 2012 National Humanities Medal. Marilynne Robinson is best known for her three novels Housekeeping (1980), Gilead (2004) and Home (2008), as well as numerous essays and works of non-fiction. Her National Humanities Medal citation hailed: "her grace and intelligence in writing. With moral strength and lyrical clarity, Dr....

British Fantasy Society wants to make your Hallowe’en
October 7, 2014 | 12:40 pm

The British Fantasy Society, in conjunction with renowned London-headquartered science fiction, fantasy, and horror emporium Forbidden Planet, is bringing together a pumpkinfest of feted horror authors for the Mass Hallowe’en Signing & BFS Open Day Social on Saturday October 25th, at Forbidden Planet's original 179 Shaftesbury Avenue chamber of horrors, kicking off at 10.00 am. Afterwards, there'll be a sociable get-together at The Bloomsbury pub on Shaftesbury Avenue for book and horror talk, with free entry to both events. Modestly titled "The Greatest Hallowe'en Signing of All Time," the event assembles the following writers, illustrators, and editors, according to Forbidden Planet's...

The Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014: Some concluding images
August 28, 2014 | 3:30 pm

IMG_20140825_184414Here is a montage of shots from the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014 - just to give you all a taste. And here's to next year - in another country, perhaps ? ...

Edinburgh International Book Festival ends on sustained high with independence referendum looming
August 25, 2014 | 12:46 pm

IMG_20140824_200415 The Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014 wrapped up its three-week run in Edinburgh's Charlotte Square Gardens on Monday August 25th with a strong finish and scant sign of any slackening off in numbers or enthusiasm among attendees. Ticket sales kept up with last year's record numbers, according to the Festival press team, and the whole series of events picked up fresh pertinence and energy from a topic seldom far from anyone's lips on or off the podium: the independence debate and the referendum less than a month away. "Over the last 17 days, the Book Festival has welcomed over 800 authors...

Just arrived for Edinburgh International Book Festival!
August 19, 2014 | 7:15 pm

IMG_20140819_171154I made it to Edinburgh once again this year for the 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival, and will be reporting from now on until its end in a week's time. And just in case anyone still needs reminding, this is a critical month in a critical year for Scottish nationhood, cultural and otherwise, with the referendum on Scottish independence less than four weeks away. And yes, I missed George R.R. Martin, but there's a real-life game of thrones happening right here right now - though with far more ink spilt than blood. So far it's as buzzy and lively as you'd...

Loncon 3 gears up for Hugo Awards
August 17, 2014 | 11:20 am

Loncon 3, the 2014 incarnation of Worldcon and "the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention," held at ExCel in London's Docklands, is playing host this Sunday August 17th to the Hugo Awards, "the leading award for excellence in the field of science fiction and fantasy," in an event due to be streamed live to fans worldwide. According to information already released by Loncon 3, "participation in the Hugo Awards is now officially at an all-time high. Loncon 3 received 3,587 valid Hugo Award final ballots (3,571 online, 16 paper). The previous high was 2,100 final ballots cast by members of the...

GenCon is this weekend; are you coming?
August 11, 2014 | 5:56 pm

20140508_171116_HDRGenCon is coming up this weekend, at the Indianapolis Convention Center (that kind of flat building at right, visible between those two red towers) here in scenic Indianapolis. Are any of our readers planning on attending? It would be cool to have the chance to meet some of you! I’m highly excited about it; this is the first time I’ll be attending as a resident rather than an out-of-towner. I can bicycle home at the end of the day rather than having to drive a rental car down to my brother’s house. I’m probably going to be around Thursday and...

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014 kicks off today
August 9, 2014 | 10:57 am

The Edinburgh International Book Festival begins its formal program for 2014 today with "over 900 internationally-renowned writers and thinkers from 47 countries around the world" and a theme of "Let’s Talk" which directly recalls the so-called National Conversation consultation exercise which led up to the historic referendum on Scottish independence due next month. And while the referendum and the issue of Scottish independence is not at all the only item on the program, it is coloring much of the content of this year’s Festival and giving it an historic flavor of its own. Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond and former UK Prime...

New York Public Library panel: ‘Amazon: threat or menace?’
July 2, 2014 | 11:33 am

Origin 712014 71734 PMWell, the New York Public Library panel discussion on Amazon was a big disappointment. I suppose I should have expected it, given how the panel was stacked with some of Amazon’s harshest critics and others from the old-guard publishing industry, but I had harbored some hope they might be willing to listen to an opposing viewpoint. Unfortunately, it was even worse than I’d feared. The 90-minute video is available at the livestream page if you want to watch the carnage. First of all, the meeting was clearly put together with an anti-Amazon agenda, as the selection of...

New York Public Library Amazon panel discussion takes place tonight
July 1, 2014 | 11:05 am

Just a friendly little reminder to block out 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern tonight to watch the panel discussion that the New York Public Library is hosting on Amazon’s business tactics, featuring James Patterson, Bob Kohn, and Passive Guy. It will be livestreamed, and promises to be rather entertaining. I’ll try to write up some thoughts about it afterward, or tomorrow....