This week’s busy social whirl

20140605_180030There’s so much going on at JFB right now that I hardly know where to start. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll already have seen Morag Kristjansson’s excellent Viking cupcakes (made with her own fair hands) to facilitate the launch of Snorri’s Blood will Follow and the paperback of Swords of Good Men at Forbidden Planet – thanks, FP! – last week. That was followed on Friday by the British Fantasy Society’s Open Night, and the Big Reveal of the shortlist for the British Fantasy Awards.

Nicola and I were delighted to be there to cheer on Sarah Pinborough and Alison Littlewood, shortlisted for best horror novel for, respectively, Mayhem and Path of Needles, Tom Pollock’s The Glass Republic up for best fantasy novel and Stephen Jones’s Fearie Tales shortlisted for Best Anthology – a hearty congratulations to you all, and of course to the rest of the nominees. Now we just have to wait until September and Fantasycon to find out the winners.

Then on Saturday I had the great pleasure of joining wonderful children’s writer Frances Hardinge at the joint BSFA/SF Foundation mini-con and AGMs. She was the British SF Association’s Guest of Honour; I was asked by the Science Fiction Foundation. And I am sure Frances will agree: we had a blast! It’s hard to pick a favourite part of the day – I really enjoyed Tom Pollock’s interview with Frances (except that there was one of her books I realised I didn’t have, and my to-read pile is already teetering, but what’s a person to do? Gullstruck Island is now enroute), and even more, Sophia McDougall’s very penetrating interview of me (she’s not one to hold back on the awkward questions, which meant I didn’t get bored as I never knew where we might be going next).

AwardCovers2But most Brownie points go to whoever devised my panel game – was it you, Shana Worthen? If so, copyright it at once! With Edward James (last seen moderating the JFB-sponsored ‘Women in SF’ panel atBlackwells ) in the chair, Kate Keen, Martin McCallion and Tony Keen took turns in pitching an (already published) book for my fledgling list, with ‘help’ from the very enthusiastic audience . . . It was all worth it just to listen to Tony extolling the virtues of Terrance Dicks’ classic  Doctor Who and the Day of the Daleks against Martin’s passionate plea for Robert Charles Wilson’s Hugo-winning Spin – and then Kate trying to pull a flanker by sliding in a piece of fanfic when I wasn’t paying attention . . . Who says academics don’t know how to have fun?

And this week we’ve got the Gemmell Awards, and then next week there’s the Winchester Writers’ Festival, at which @LitAgentDrury and I are making a guest appearance or two . . . and somewhere amongst all this fun and frivolity I have to produce a two-page synopsis (which, unusually, includes the ending) for a book I want to enter into another prestigious award. And before I’ve finished that, can I just check these four cover run-outs, and can I write a paragraph for the end-matter for the paperback of Traitor’s Blade, and can I do a quick author intervention. Oh, and I have three copy-edits to finish.

All I can say is: thank heavens Nicola is about to finish her water-only stint* and is on hand to ply me with tea and blueberries. And whilst I’m not pleased that Andrew’s torn a tendon trying to do a forward flip on his niece’s trampoline**, it does at least mean that he’s got to sit still for a bit to let it heal instead of dreaming up more boisterous ways to get JFB noticed . . .

And now I have to bid you adieu so I can go over the US schedule with the home and US teams . . .


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*Forgotten to sponsor her? Fear not: you still have time! She agreed to say farewell to fizzy pop, bye-bye to beer and laters to lattes for two whole weeks (and this is nowhere near as easy as it sounds) to raise money for the RNLI and their lifesavers at sea, who drop everything at a moment’s notice to save lives on the water. You’ll find her page at

** No, he didn’t manage it!

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