It's EK Appearance Week! I can run, but I can't hide
Glasgow Fantasy Centre Launch Keynote Speech live online this Wednesday, and "10 minutes with EK" podcast
Keynote Speech * updated with video of the Sept. 16 event*
As a fantasy writer, I stand on the shoulders of storytellers stretching back through time, everything from the post-war children’s book authors I grew up reading, to the folk telling tales by the fire they’d heard from their grandmothers in their turn.
I am honored almost to the point of incoherence to have been invited to give the Keynote Speech at the official launch of the Centre for Fantasy & the Fantastic at the University of Glasgow—almost, but not quite: I’m sure I’ll manage to get out some words about fantasy literature and my own creative practice, including my retelling of the Scottish folk ballad of Thomas the Rhymer. It seems right for a center designed to explore, encourage and perpetuate the fantastic in art, literature, and across media. As co-director Rob Maslen explains:
“Fantasy can be found everywhere in 21st century global culture – in films, TV shows, plays, games, comics, the visual arts, and literature, from picture books for the very young to multi-volume epics and one-off experimental forms. The new centre allows us to pay close attention to this extraordinary phenomenon, its past, its present, and its many possible futures.”
This live event takes place on Wednesday, 16 September at 18H00 British Standard Time, which is 1:00 p.m. EST here in the U.S. The Eventbrite tickets for the launch webinar are sold out, but the event will be LIVE-STREAMED via the Centre’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCv3mkKQUDyZ_OcP-uLqJTMA/
The entire event is saved on YouTube! My section begins here, with a blush-making introduction by Dimitra. I am not much given to impostor syndrome, but I must confess I kept thinking "Why didn't they ask someone else?" Her intro made me feel much more confident as I began:
My talk is followed by a panel discussion by three people I not only esteem but absolutely adore: Terri Windling, Professor Brian Attebery, and Dr Robert Maslen.
Terri is one of my oldest and dearest friends - we met when we were both starting out in publishing (I as an editor, she as an illustrator, long ago). When she became a leading fantasy editor, she actually published my first story, and has encouraged me ever since in every conceivable way.
Brian is the sort of academic with whom you want to sit on the porch of a summer’s evening, watching the fireflies and discussing his thoughts on C. S. Lewis, or U.K. LeGuin, or whoever he happens to be writing a book about; fortunately, I’ve been able to do just that in our summers teaching at the Hollins U. MA/MFA program in Children’s Literature & Illustration.
I first met Rob Maslen, founder and director of the Fantasy MLitt program at U. of Glasgow, when he invited Delia & me there to give a talk in November 2016 (photo below). Rob turns out to be my Secret Brother.
The chance to hear the three of them in conversation is a treat not to be missed.
The text of Rob Maslen’s wonderful 5-minute illustrated talk for the Centre’s opening is here: https://thecityoflostbooks.glasgow.ac.uk/a-brief-history-of-fantasy-at-glasgow/
More on the Centre, and Friendships
Dr Maslen’s co-director of the Centre is the most awesome Dr Dimitra Fimi, a renowned Tolkien scholar born in Greece, and another great person to hang out with.
Take a walk around Glasgow University’s historic grounds with Dr Fimi, and let her tell you about the new Centre in this video.
I had heard great things about her from friends, but only through a crazy coincidence did Dimitra Fimi and I meet last year, in a most unexpected manner!
I saw on Twitter, I think, that Dr Fimi was attending a conference in Paris—turns out it was literally around the corner from the apartment my partner Delia Sherman & I were renting. We invited her over for tea, and in 10 minutes were chatting like old friends. When I learned she had never been to the nearby Luxembourg Gardens, I dragged her off to one of my favorite places on earth:
But really . . . that’s no reason to invite someone to give a keynote speech.
Coode Street Podcast
Episode 515: Ten Minutes with Ellen Kushner
Ten minutes with... is a special series presented by Coode Street that sees readers and booklovers from around the world talk about what they're reading right now and what's getting them through these difficult times.
Multiple award-winning author, editor, narrator, and radio personality Ellen Kushner chats with Gary Wolfe about moving back to New York; ordering favorite children’s and YA books from independent bookstores; reading Edward Eager, E. Nesbit, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and Joan Aiken; the brilliance of Frances Hardinge; group reading Shakespeare with friends online; the University of Glasgow’s new fantasy study center; and odd historical genres like “silver-fork novels.”
Full Disclosure: Gary Wolfe & I end up talking for longer than 10 minutes. Because we had fun! (In fact, when he turned off the tape, we talked for another half an hour.)
I hope it’s an interesting conversation to listen in on. Here’s the Podcast link.
Books mentioned include:
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken, Night Birds on Nantucket by Joan Aiken, The Witch of Clatteringshaws by Joan Aiken
Deeplight by Frances Hardinge, The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk, Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
Silk & Steel: An Adventure Anthology of Queer SF&F with High Femmes & Dashing Women edited by Janine A. Southard (forthcoming) , because I have a Riverside story in this one!
I’ll be back soon with more tales of this, that and the other - and of course, more bad advice - but for now, must go practice my speech! Wish me luck -