My Day at The Gollancz Festival 2016

Last weekend was GollanczFest, an event of such magnitude that it shall be felt across the infinite threads of time forevermore. Whether this will be for the better or for worse had yet to be determined.

I cannot remember when I got my tickets, but it was a while ago, further back than my terrible memory is able to recall but, as it was an event which spread over multiple days, I decided to focus all my excitement into one and bought tickets to all the events I could attend on the Saturday. While I do enjoy writing, I decided against going to the Writer’s Day (and not just because the word ‘workshop’ sends tremors of terror down my spine) and opted to get tickets for both of the panel sessions, as well as the party at the end of the day. Unfortunately, I was only able to attend the morning session.

My day started badly, mainly thanks to heavy rain the day before caused the station to be in absolute chaos, and also thanks to my terrible sense of direction which resulted in me walking 10 minutes in the wrong direction once I got to London, so my stress-levels were on high. Fortunately, before I could combust, I saw Foyles and a tide of peace came over me. I was there and I was ready to enjoy myself.

And enjoy myself I did.

Aside from a few minor things, everything about the event was perfect. The room in Foyles was well sized and I could both see and hear the people on the panels, even though I was sat at the back (I’m blaming the trains for that). On my left was a fairly irresistible display of books, each one calling to be bought and read (it was very difficult to resist buying them all). The panels themselves were made up of three or four authors with one panel leader. I’m not sure how the panels were chosen, but the dynamics between each person worked really well. I was fully engrossed and even put my notebook away just to listen. My favourite, however, was the last one I saw – #amwriting. I could not stop laughing throughout.

Then came the book signing. This was the one thing I wish I could have gone back and done differently. Above the manic train journey, above my poor decision about which way to go, this was it. I had only brought one book with me. Even though I own a number of books by many of the authors attending, I had only brought one. This was mainly to prevent a painful struggle home, but still, in hindsight, I really should have brought more. I did, however, buy a few in the interval so I did get more than one book signed, just not as many as I wish I had.

It was also the part of the event where I, in a state of anguish, made the decision to go home rather than stay for the next session. Throughout the event, I had been feeling increasingly ill, mainly due to the development of a migraine. I was devastated to miss the afternoon session and the party, but in the end I thought I would rather be asleep in bed rather than in agony in Foyles. It also made me forget to buy a poster which I only remembered on the train home (although I did pick up the snazzy notebook so all is well).

All in all, despite everything that went wrong (none of which were actually part of the event, just the universe conspiring against me), I actually really enjoyed the day and, once I got home and was feeling a bit better, followed the rest of the event on twitter, which was surprisingly fun. My list of authors I want to read has also increased exponentially. Thanks for that.

Thanks, also, to everyone who put in the effort to make the day special, I shall forever look upon my GollanczFest tote bag with fond recollection.



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