SFX Weekender 3

February 8th, 2012

Over the weekend I was up in Prestatyn, Wales, for SFX’s third Weekender which is, as I understand it, already the UK’s largest sci-fi and fantasy event.  Many, many UK authors, editors, and other publishing-related folk were in attendance, as were over 4,000 fans, many of them dressed up like all kinds of strangeness.  The film and tv related people are, unsurprisingly, the main attraction, but there were actually some really decent showings for some of the literary panels.  The Prestatyn Pontins is a lot better than the Camber Sands one as a venue (not to mention nearly twice the capacity, and already pretty much full), although the accommodation, not to mention the food, is still fairly wretched.

The undoubted highlight for me was SF&F themed Just a Minute hosted by Paul Cornell and featuring the epic comic talents of me, China Mieville, Sarah Pinborough, and TV writer Toby Whithouse.  Full of horror before the event but it turned out to be a real laugh and by all appearances went down pretty well with the audience.  The room was largely full and I heard later it holds 1600.  Someone was taping and you can see it in four parts over here.  I must admit I slightly missed the smaller, more intimate author events, the two rooms were pretty vast and when things are amplified and the audience seems a long way off, everyone craning forward to their mikes, it can be hard to get that sense of a relaxed conversation among the panellists that makes things entertaining.  It’d be nice to see a bit more going on in future years, perhaps a couple of more intimate spaces for some Q&As, but by all appearances this event is here to stay.  It offers a scale, a sense of excitement, and dare I say a youth, that the more traditional literary conventions can’t really imitate…

Posted in appearances by Joe Abercrombie on February 8th, 2012.

5 comments so far

  • Rick says:

    You should try the rock festival they do there. Good venue for stages and excessive drinking and a great crowd. Like you say though, the food and accommodation are rough…

  • Eli(Cara) says:

    Just a Minute was hilarious. Congratulations on your victory =)

  • Gregg says:

    I totally agree, really missed the chillout of the authors talks, readings and Q&As in the bar. Each of the previous two years I have picked up another author or two to be interested in.

    Still a very enjoyable event. The Joe and China double act was working well during Just a Minute and Prestatyn is a much better place than Camber, we even found an excellent curry house on the Thursday night.

  • innokenti says:

    Just a Minute was great. You have been paying attention to Paul Merton way too much 😛

  • Liam says:

    It was a great weekend, and cheers for the personal message in the front of Last Argument of Kings. The imaginarium was pretty damned awesome though, right?

    And the accommodation was pretty terrible…
    Anyway, thanks for the signing!

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