This post is a little later than planned but, you know, life …
Over the Easter weekend I attended Contact in Brisbane. For those unfamiliar with the event it celebrated the 55th Australian National Speculative Fiction Convention (aka NatCon). It was the first time in a decade Brisbane had played host to NatCon and they went out of their way to impress, delivering a first class convention across all levels.
The program was extensive with panels, workshops, book launches and signings, guest of honour speeches, kaffeeklatsches and activities to please every medium and mode of fandom, craft development, entertainment and interest.
Guest of honour included Keri Arthur, Jill Pantozzi, K A Barker, Ben Aaronovitch and Maria Lewis. Unfortunately my budget and baggage allowance didn’t allow for rampant expenditure on books this year (boo), but I picked up signed copies of the first of Ben’s Rivers of London series, and Maria’s Who’s Afraid? I also sat in on Maria’s workshop geared towards social media for writers. She’s a wonderfully refreshing communicator with a massive personality.
The biggest challenge of NatCon was choosing which panels to attend, there was such a comprehensive choice. I spread myself around covering everything from Are There No New Ideas? to New Worlds and Old, Real Fantasy, Dead Ends and Red Herrings, You Read How You Buy, Access All Channels (focused on the portrayal of disability in spec fic), Ripped from the Headlines, Kill or be Killed, Writing the Fantastic City, and Of Men and Monsters … Phew!
I also got the opportunity to pitch my urban fantasy novel to the fabulous Alex Adsett, and attend the Ditmar Awards on Sunday night.
Huge thanks to the committee, panelists and volunteers for bringing the weekend together and working like demons to execute everything with style and humour.
As a side note, conventions are an interesting dynamic no matter which way you are socially geared. There’s the thrill of reconnecting with old friends, meeting cyber friends ‘in real life,’ and making new ones. There can also be times when you’re floating on the fringes looking for an anchor. Thankfully, majority of people at cons have experienced this and are hardwired towards inclusivity. So, if you’ve been thinking of attending a con in the future but the thought of putting yourself out there socially makes ice trickle through your veins, take a deep breath and allow yourself to be swept up in the welcoming, creative energy.
(There’s also the bar. Writers love a bar. And coffee. Both are great for debriefing and regrouping. Did I mention the bar)?
Leaving you with some pictures from the awesome panels. Happy writing, happy reading, and happy days. 🙂