Authors North Spring Meeting 'Fantasy and Horror'
The hotel looked after us well, even going to the trouble of welcoming us with our own biscuits (which I photographed quickly before they all disappeared).
The morning talk was by the fantasy writer David Whitley who at the age of twenty-five has already written one highly acclaimed book called The Midnight Charter. It is part of a trilogy, published by Penguin in this country but also translated into many other different languages worldwide. It has also been long-listed for the Carnegie medal. The next book, Children of the Lost, is out later this year. The Midnight Charter is set in a superbly imagined city, Agora, where anything can be bought or sold, including children...and emotions.
In the talk David described how the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century inspired his writing; both the setting (the city itself inspired by Prague) and also the ideas. He then described many of the ideas of that age (described so eloquently in the first chapter of Seeing Further by James Gleik). This was an age of discovery and investigation, and David illustrated how this period, rather than the Romantic period that followed it, is a grand inspiration for fantasy.
At the end of the talk David was kept busy signing books...
Following lunch we had another excellent talk, this time from Ramsey Campbell (and introduced by Helen Shay) on the delights of Horror. This talk entirely changed my view of the genre. Ramsey Campbell is ' awarded the Grand Master Award of the World Horror Convention and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Horror Writers Association. He is also the President of the British Fantasy Society.