Edge-Lit 6 is only three weeks away so here’s head honcho Alex Davis talking about the six things he’s looking forward to most about the popular genre event…
So, 2017 will see the sixth running of Edge-Lit here in Derby, and once again I’m working hard at putting together the best day of fantasy, horror and science-fiction that I possibly can. This year I think we have our best line-up yet and a whole host of good stuff – the aim of any event organiser is to deliver something bigger and better than the year before, and that remains the target in 2017!
People often ask me the question – ‘do you actually look forward to an event like this?’ – and of course the answer is yes. Naturally there is a certain sense of trepidation, but there’s also a definite excitement of seeing an event that has been so much come to fruition at long last. And while I may not always get to sit in a whole host of panels or workshops throughout the day, here are some of things I am very much able to look forward to on the day.
1) Catching up with friends! My aim from the start with Edge-Lit was always to make it really friendly and sociable, as I think that’s one of the things a smaller convention can really excel at. I’ve always found super-sized 1000+ person conventions a bit overwhelming, so at something like Edge-Lit it great to see so many friendly faces and to meet up with event attendees new and old. I love the fact that people just seem to mix and mingle so freely – whether they knew each other before arriving or not – and the bar tends to be absolutely buzzing all day!
2) The redshirts. A lot of conventions have a lot of different honorifics for their volunteers, but for Edge-Lit – and indeed FantasyCon – it has been ‘the redshirts’ for a while. Originally a Star Trek joke that has probably worn pretty thin, the redshirts have become a recognisable force in their own right at Edge-Lit and it’s simply something that couldn’t happen without them. It does my heart good to see them and see just how committed they are to making it a great day. And anyone who witnessed myself and Pixie reduced to tears at FantasyCon 2016 when collecting the Karl Edward Wagner Award on behalf of the redshirts will know that it really does mean something to us.
3) The raffle. Odds are this’ll be the first thing I actually see on the day, and I’m sure many Edge-Lit attendees will tell you this is one of the highlights of the day. For a number of years we’ve been donated some phenomenal prizes by a hugely supportive array of publishers, and the live draw itself is always an absolute blast as a programme item in its own right. The fact people take home some awesome book goodies as well is almost a bonus. And I can’t say too much more yet, but this year’s prizes are already looking like our best ever batch…
4) The Gemmell Awards ceremony. I was chuffed to have the opportunity to bring the Gemmell Awards to Edge-Lit, and I can’t wait for the prizegiving itself to take place. I’ve always really enjoyed it when I’ve attended in the past, and it’s great to see who lands the big prizes and the typically rather stunned and surprised responses to that! There should be some added fun this year, which again I can’t talk about just yet, but more news will follow on that!
5) Workshopping! One of the things I love most about Edge-Lit is the workshop thread, which certainly isn’t unique but equally isn’t something you’ll see at every convention. I think it’s also something our audience seems to really enjoy, and the variety of sessions and subjects is always really interesting. And I do tend to run a session myself, and this year I’ll be presenting my session on ‘How To Run a Writing Event’ – so if anyone out there is wondering how to deliver something like and Edge-Lit, that’ll be a good place to be…
6) Finishing up and post-event drinks! As much as I love doing Edge-Lit, the end of the day marks the end of about 16 hours of pretty solid work at the event and an awful lot of build-up before it! But even more than that it marks my chance to go and hang out with people a bit more, enjoy a few drinks (strictly Diet Coke of course) and just generally let my hair down (what little I have left). It’s also just a nice feeling to celebrate a bit with some of my favourite people.
There’s a little of what I’m going to enjoy most, and hopefully you’ll be able to join us on the day to see what there might be enjoy for you…
Literature Officer, QUAD, Derby
Edge-Lit 6 takes place on the 15th July at QUAD, Derby and features Guests of Honour Stephen Baxter, Joanne Harris, Andrew Michael Hurley, Ken MacLeod, Peter Newman, Jeff Noon and Samantha Shannon, as well as many more speakers and panellists. For more information, or to book your ticket, visit http://www.derbyquad.co.uk/film/edge-lit-6.aspx. For any queries, feel free to email Alex at firstname.lastname@example.org