From Brighton To…Corby?

Reading & Writing

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.

10 comments on “From Brighton To…Corby?”

  1. This was my first FCon, and I had a lovely, lovely time.

    It seemed welcoming, inclusive, professional good humoured and ace. I had to leave during the Award ceremony so missed the big awards, but it’s a shame the resulting controversy, and the kerfuffle about the move to Corby, seems to have soured the event for so many.

    But my experience was so positive I refuse to let it be soured. I joined the BFS yesterday, and I am trying to be involved in fixing things so I can repay the positivity with however tiny a contribution.

    I pledge to attend the next convention, even if it is in bloody Corby. That way, I earn the right to have a say – which I have used to call for a change of Con venue.

    I urge everyone who’s thinking of leaving the BFS or boycotting the next Con to think twice and to take a positive step to *fix* stuff rather than walking away. The Con was *so* good, and it seems everyone agrees it was such a step forward that it would be a shame if the ground gained was then immediately lost.

    The discussion about changing the venue has already begun on the BFS Facebook page.

    Let’s see if we can get it done.

  2. And one of the team responsible for choosing the venue seems to be open to moving it 🙂

  3. Andy says:

    I should really say something pertinent here, but my brain is too busy reviewing Bill Bailey’s numerous trouser press references, especially the “Hosenbügler” sketch…

  4. John Naylor says:

    I do not want to get drawn into a debate about the merits of Brighton versus anywhere else. As Steve says in his own blog if the existing team were to have run in Brighton again they would have had to have started work some months ago. Without access to a time machine we have to work with the had we have been dealt.
    We were asked to suggest venues for a “hotel based FantasyCon” for 2012. We offered a venue which can work perfectly well. It was signed off by the committee so we went ahead and booked.
    I am however very keen to make FantasyCon work so will listen to everyone and try to do the best job we can. Anyone have a suitable venue for FantasyCon that we can move on swiftly? I would be delighted to hear from you. That means be proactive. Contact the hotel you think might work and see if they are available and what space they have. If you score a hit let us know straight away.

  5. Sparro says:

    Corby has very few redeeming features, rather sadly for its inhabitants, who seem to be largely Scottish, and with an MP who changed her name recently.
    So I would suggest it is absolutely the place to hold a festival of fantasy. For heaven’s sake, it’s fantasy that you are interested in, is it not? Then jolly -well go to Corby and fantasise! Invent your scenario! Be fantastic! There is a world north of the M25, even though to you it might be a fantasy, so how much better can it get! Go to a town surrounded by deserted industrial works that is famous for a trouser-press, Wallow in the surreal and put yourselves, and Corby, on the fantasy map!
    And I believe it has a railway station once more, so in despair you can hi-tail it back to St Pancras, and the ‘safe south’.
    Corby is also ever-so-slightly more central than Brighton…
    …so maybe more people would attempt to get to the Fantasycon.

  6. Stephen Davies says:

    Young writers = skint writers. If Fcon is always held in Brighton, you’re ruling out a lot of keen from north of Watford. Birmingham is pretty cool, and accessible for overseas travellers, and slightly less shabby than the old tart on the coast.

  7. Terenzio says:

    Actually Sparro has a good point about the place being more central than Brighton. True Brighton is convenient for those lucky enough to live in London, but for those who live north of London it might be less convenient because they probably would have to go into London and catch a connecting train to Brighton….and the train might be at a different terminus in London. Still it would be a perfect excuse to spend a few days in the capital partaking of all the wonders London including afternoon tea at Brown’s or the Connaught…lovely walks along the Thames and of course all the fabulous museums including one of my person favorite – Sir John Soanes Museum in Lincoln’s In Fields.

    I shall retire to bed in my lovely purple dressing gown to dip into Beverley Nichols’ Merry Hall – the first in the wonderful Merry Hall trilogy and drift off to sleep dreaming of London.

    One final thought, maybe Corby has one of those lovely old world hotels – perhaps Victorian, I so do love Victorian architecture…..

  8. admin says:

    I’m sorry, but the argument that young writers are skint writers doesn’t hold water. Few young writers go full time, and if they did they’re deluded. A recent poll showed virtually all writers start in day jobs and write in their spare time. And since when did being young mean not being able to get around?

    I’ve written while holding down a day job for most of my life – it’s what you do when the average wage of a writer is 7K per annum.

  9. Sparro says:

    “…and drift off to sleep dreaming of London.”
    …I concede that you would not want to drift of to sleep dreaming of Corby. I was fantasizing that a fantasy-fest might give it a redeeming feature. As it is, I don’t believe it has one. Admittedly I have only passed through the place once, and I didn’t stop, but I’m not aware of an olde-world coaching-Inn at its heart…it does not really have a heart. Think Milton Keynes without the glamour….

  10. Phil says:

    Speaking as a pure Brightonian, bloody shame it’s not being held here next year. Surely the large numbers that attended the Fantasy & the World horror con last year speak for themselves. Had to look Corby up on the map. Say’s it all really. <>

Comments are closed.

Posted In