From Brighton To…Corby?
Whatever else one can say about FantasyCon this year (and there’s a immense amount of controversy about the awards themselves – check out the message boards) the one thing we know is that for writers of horror, SF and fantasy, the move to Brighton was a gigantic success that propelled the event out of its doldrums as a small-time gathering of mates, into a much larger public arena.
It still needs more young writers to attend, but generally speaking, the move benefitted the British Fantasy Society by bringing a number of key publishers and editors to the event. Brighton’s position as a major city, served 24 hours a day by rail links, means it is more accessible than any other British coastal town. Crime festivals are associated with Harrogate, general fiction with London, so why shouldn’t Brighton become permanently associated with fantasy? After all, it has a large, diverse university population and is accessible for overseas visitors.
Instead, the organisers want to take next year’s event to a town called Corby in the Midlands, effectively wrecking all of the good work that has been done to raise the profile of this annual event. A boycott by the attendees at Brighton has begun. If the move to a tiny town in the middle of nowhere goes ahead, it will be without the majority of authors and publishers who usually attend. The good news is that finally, writers across the country are talking about artistic issues again, not just about who gets awards.