Despite only being it’s a second year, Derby-based literary festival Edge-Lit is rapidly becoming a ‘must attend’ highlight of the UK geek calendar, especially if you love reading books that feature fantasy, sci-fi or horror. This one day event on 13th July attempted to cram in as much as possible of the ever-growing UK genre publishing scene in a very short space of time, and came very close to succeeding.
To give you an example of how slickly organised it was, attendees were each handed a name badge and goodie bag filled with books from the event sponsors, as well as a program. The venue, Derby Quad, has pretty much ideal facilities for this sort of thing, and the various rooms and areas were well signposted and help was always on hand. Workshops had to be booked in advanced and almost all of these were over-subscribed, but the very accommodating venue staff worked quite hard to make sure that no one was turned away. Gav Thorpe’s workshop on creating worlds within writing went down particularly well (and was much discussed after the fact), as did Tom Fletcher’s slightly haphazard but extremely useful discussion on bringing horror into the every day.
Small press heroes Fox Spirit Books used the lunch break to launch their latest anthology Carnival Noir as well as to highlight brand new internet publishing service Space Witch Books, which certainly looks extremely useful and has a lot of potential. Other event highlights included a very strong talk as well as question and answer session by Mike Carey and a very sweet (if slightly sad) panel on the legacy left behind by Iain (M) Banks. A much talked about moment was the raffle; usually a low point at these things, humour was forcibly injected by Sarah Pinborough and Conrad Williams. By humour, we mean swearing and smut, in large amounts.
A strong presence from both Rebellion and The Black Library was notable by its absence; though authors from both those publishers were present, the lack of any official attendance did seem odd and we do hope to see both of them there next year. Edge-Lit 2 was above all a very social event, and it was good to see the great and the good from the industry come together and let their hair down on a warm summer’s day. Next year promises to be more of the same, and we are looking forward to it.