Shockingly, I’ve never been to an Edge-Lit event before this last weekend and oh boy! have I missed out in the past. It was a day full of great advice, making new friends, catching up with old friends and being reminded of how great the writing community can be.
We arrived very early—we had workshops we wanted to sign up to. And right from that moment, waiting in the queue, we got talking to people. Someone next to us recognised me from a prior event and we ended up swapping card, ideas and getting excited about all sorts of future possibilities.
Because I wanted to speak to flash fiction writers about Escaped Ink Press, I wore the mascot Inky on my shoulder and it turned out to be nothing less than brilliant. I’m an extroverted introvert, so having people approach me to ask about Inky meant I had to talk to people and not hide in the corner.
The sessions themselves were well-paced, well-balanced with panellists and authors sharing their knowledge and clearly enjoying themselves.
I’m not a big fan of panels—my CFS fog makes it hard to keep track of questions—however I attended Short Cuts: Does a Background in Short Fiction Help You Build a Career as a Novelist? chaired by the brilliant Zen Cho and featuring Simon Bestwick, Jan Edwards, Tim Lebbon and Tim Major. I found it insightful and whilst not fully relevant to my writing, an interesting glimpse into different writers’ processes.
As mentioned, I attended a couple of workshops. Robin Triggs ran The Art of Description, Ruth De Haas Developing Ideas and Aliette De Bodard Journaling and Storytelling. Finally for my workshops, Dan Coxon ran Writing Short Stories. I came away from those with a fully-fledged drabble and an idea that’s rattling around in my brain for me to start developing.
I also meandered around the book stalls, bonded with Aunty Fox from Fox Spirit Books over fox ears and octopus shoulder-wear, attended a bizarre session on Bizarro from the British Bizarro Community—still not quite sure about what it is, but I think that’s part of the attraction—and enjoyed Starburst Magazine’s Brave New Words award ceremony. Whoever wrote the slides probably deserves their own award.
And then there was the raffle… Tim Lebbon and Sarah Pinborough on stage for what can only be described as a shit show. Hilarious, awkward and what the actual hell just happened? all rolled into one. I did win a book in the raffle, but managed to swap it for the prize I really wanted: Neal Stephenson’s The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. and Fall or, Dodge in Hell.
Other things of note: Alex Davis did a brilliant job of organising the event, and all the staff and volunteers worked bloody hard to make it a great occasion, and succeeded! My water bottle was topped up by the bar, for which I’m very grateful. And we sat and had food (and wine!) at the venue, which was served quickly despite the crowds, and was an excellent and delicious choice.
What would I like to see differently: there’s a lot of plastic wastage. The goody bags were plastic and I didn’t see anywhere to hand in badges when we left, so the plastic wallets for those will likely end up in most attendees’ bins. The latter said, I was tired and foggy when we left, so I may have missed it.
The next Edge-Lit is 11th-12th July 2020 (a two-day event!) at Derby QUAD and I highly recommend it.
The QUAD also runs Derby-based workshops for writers and Escaped Ink Press is introducing a program of events in Nottingham.