Queen's Birthday Weekend means, for me, Continuum. I've been to every one, even been on the committee of one, though I haven't done that in some time. It's a LOT of work. I'd rather just be on a few panels, usually about YA fiction, in which I can use my knowledge of what kids are reading and why. It's over for another year, but I've joined next year's already.
As it happens, this year's international GoH was R.J Anderson(Rebecca), who is a YA novelist, though most of the panels she was on, she used her knowledge of this stuff as a parent rather than a writer, to talk about other people's books. I think that's nice. I missed her GoH speech, which I'm told was excellent, because I was spending a bit of time with my mother before going into town. I hope someone has recorded it.
These conventions are always good, the only problem being which panel to attend because there are four streams, all worth attending.
But there are also people you don't see except once a year, and you try to catch up with them if you can - well, I certainly do, usually via lunch or dinner. I couldn't do dinner this time because Saturday I had a play to attend, then dinner at a restaurant with my family afterwards(the play was North By Northwest, which I wasn't missing for anyone!). Sunday I always go to visit my mother, along with my sister. But I managed a couple of lunches and enjoyed the company. The first lunch was with my friend Anne Poore, a wonderful harpist who brings her instrument to every convention. Unfortunately, her concert was on Sunday evening, when I was with my family, but I have heard her play. At Swancon, some years ago, she did a jam session with the GoH, Charles De Lint, and his wife, Mary Ann, both of whom are musicians(they met when he was giving her mandolin lessons). It turned into an impromptu concert in the hotel foyer.
I also met some of the folk who were at last week's Reading Matters conference. One of them was Ellie Marney, the author of some YA novels about a teenage Holmes and Watson in modern Melbourne. (Watson is a girl). Of course, Ellie was on the Sherlock Holmes panel and she also did one with me. Before she left, on the Sunday, I got her to sign a copy of the third book for my book club student Kaitlyn, who read her first two in manuscript form and is a huge fan. Kaitlyn will hopefully be pleasantly surprised when I give it to her this morning.
I saw Margo Lanagan, author of some wonderful fantasy, on the way out last night, with my friend Gillian Polack, who is a historian and a writer herself. Margo greeted me by name. I know we've met, but only briefly, a long time ago. I must be memorable; other people I've only met once, briefly, seem to know me. Some give me a hug! She did stop to chat with Gillian, who knows her better than I do, then Gillian and I went off to catch a tram. She lives in Canberra, but her family live here and on the same tramline as mine. It was great to catch up.
To my mild surprise, I won a raffle prize - I entered because it raises money for the next convention. The basket of goodies I received after the other two had chosen the ones with the real goodies, had some ginger tea which I will enjoy drinking, a con bag from Craftonomicon, a pair of very strange plastic chopsticks with tiny figures inside them, a novel, a couple of manga books and two DVDs of anime movies. I'm not really into manga, but the kids at my school are and fortunately they were both volume 1 of their respective series. So that goes in the library. One of the movies had some names I knew, so I will watch it before deciding if I'm giving it away. The tote bag will always come in handy.
I arranged some interviews and guest posts for this site before I left. We'll see how it goes.
All in all, I had a very good time and met up with some good friends I don't see often.
Next year's GoHs have been announced, both local, but I know them, both YA folk. The two Chans, Queenie and Kylie. Queenie Chan should be good value for money. She is a manga artist whose books are hugely popular in my library.
I've only read one book by Kylie Chan, White Tiger, which I reviewed here when it came out. It was a good idea and well written, but, I felt, needed chopping by about a third. I thought at the time - and still think- that the publishers made her stick in a whole lot of stuff to make it fit into a trilogy. I suspect nobody these days tells her what to do, since she has become a big name.