Playing catch-up

If you know me already, you know that I’m kinda crap at updating blogs, answering emails and so on. As if to reinforce the point, I just stopped writing this post in order to send an email that I promised someone last week, and then immediately forgot about.

However, on those occasions when I’m not under the spell of the procrastination demon and whiling away the subsequent hours imagining what it would be like if, say, John Luther from Luther was transplanted into the setting of Jonathan Creek, I manage to write things, attend stuff, and meet people.

On the fiction front, I have a story in the shared-world anthology Hell’s Empire, edited by John Linwood Grant: the shared premise for all the contributions is that in the latter years of the 19th century, Hell declares war on Britain; my story is a demonic take on the old Fenian maxim that “England’s difficulty is Ireland’s opportunity,” set against the backdrop of the Bodyke Evictions (but with certain names changed up for dramatic purposes). The book was published by Ulthar Press, under the stewardship of the late Sam Gafford, a genre stalwart to whom John pays a moving tribute here, at GNoH.

I also landed a couple of drabbles (100-word short stories) with HorrorTree, for their regular ‘Trembling With Fear’ segment: the first one, “Priorities,” is already up; the others will be coming later in August, and in September.

The inaugural Cymera Festival was an absolute blast, and I’m very, very pleased to report that it will be returning next year. This is an exclusively literary thing, as opposed to regular SF/F/H conventions, so there’s no cosplay or visual media panels – we’re talking books, writing panels/workshops, readings, open-mic sessions for established and aspiring writers alike, a creators’ hall where indie publishers set out their stalls, and Real Big-Name Authors just, like, walking around like regular people. I don’t know if I’ll be asked to present anything next year, but if not, I’ll definitely be going as an attendee.

Theorizing Zombiism, likewise, was the first event of its kind, i.e. an Irish academic conference all about zombies, though its international outlook means that the next one (yes indeed, this was another successful launch) will be taking place elsewhere. Due to the heatwave, some medical issues and the awkward location of my accommodation relative to the venue, I ended up missing a lot of the scheduled presentations; what I did see, though, convinced me that scholarship on the subject of zombies is a lot more expansive and multi-faceted than I suspected. My paper (hastily re-written after seeing that several of my keen observations were actually rather passé) got some polite laughs and some good questions at the end. The conference finished with the launch of the Zombie Studies Network, and plans are afoot for a peer-reviewed journal and possibly a podcast series. Given that I’ve been drifting away from academia for over a year now, I did feel somewhat out of place amid the zombie scholars; however, the programme also boasted a brilliant session with authors Sarah Davis-Goff (Last Ones Left Alive) and Scott Kenemore (Zombie OhioZombie Illinois, Zombie Indiana and Zombie-in-Chief: Eater of the Free World), who spoke about apocalyptic narratives, political writing and satire.

In between, I also made a brief appearance at the 2019 International Flann O’Brien Society conference, Palimpsests, also at UCD. Again, I was very much all at sea, given that I was sharing a discussion panel with the insightful and ferociously witty Joanna Walsh, but I didn’t bring down the tone of the proceedings too much.

Now for the Dublin 2019 Worldcon, the programme for which is now available. I can’t imagine why you’d want to see me specifically when there are so many amazing guests, speakers and panellists about, but on the off-chance that you do, I’m scheduled for a kaffeeklatsch amid the various panels that I’ll be taking up space on. I’ll also just be generally hanging around every day except the Friday, so if you see me lumbering about the place, feel free to say hello.

AND in other surreal, unexpected, gobsmacking and kind-of-terrifying news…

I’ve been nominated for the ESFS 2019 Award for Best Translator! I’m in a category alongside seven accomplished and renowned translators from across Europe, and part of a ‘slate,’ if you want to call it that, of Irish nominees whose achievements put mine in the ha’penny place, so my impostor syndrome is just bursting out all over.

That’s it for now. I’ll endeavour to keep this thing updated on a more regular basis, but I’m making no promises.

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