In a couple of weeks I’ve got my first two proper speaking engagements. I am, if truth be told, a bit apprehensive. Whilst I can hold forth at length over a glass or two of merlot, talking to a room full of strangers is rather more scary.
The first is on Thursday 25th, when I'm speaking at a meeting of PSiFA, the university SF society in which I miss-spent part of my youth. I helped organise some of their Shoestringcons and edited their newsletter/fanzine, Hypo-Space. Hell, I even spent a while as society president, gawd help me. Or possibly them. In some ways I’m not so worried about this gig as it’s not for paying punters. In others I’m more nervous, as PSiFA was a massive part of my life during my college days and I remember dreaming of the day I'd be the guest, rather than the person who looked after the guest. (BTW, I have scurrilous stories featuring well-known figures in the SFF world which I'm not going to recount in print, but which I'm happy to tell in con bars if plied with drink.)
A mere two days later on Saturday the 27th, I’m a Guest at Picocon, at Imperial College London. I share the bill with Alistair Reynolds, someone I have both personal and professional respect for, and Amanda Hemingway, who I must confess not to know either as a writer or a person, but who I look forward to meeting. I think between us we've got the whole spectrum of fantastical literature covered.
My intention is to cheat by basically doing the same presentation twice, to whit, about forty minutes of (hopefully) entertaining waffle, with the provisional title of 'Three secrets and a reading'. The reading is, well, me reading something I wrote. The 'three secrets' are writing-related.
In thinking about the talk I also considered how I got to be a pro writer, so while I'm doing some 'parish notices' here I'm going to use this chance to tout the services of Liz Williams, a far more experienced writer who helped me on my way. She's currently offering one to one creative writing tutoring, and a two-day course in genre writing. Follow the links for details and ways to contact her.