GenreCon: There are heaps of conventions, many of which offer literary programming, so why choose GenreCon? What do you hope to achieve by attending?
Lee: Hi, and thanks for inviting me! It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of literary conventions, and for a number of reasons. Firstly, they’re a fantastic way for writers to refresh their creative well, allowing us to step away from our desks to travel to a new location where we can immerse ourselves in workshops and panels intended to inform and inspire our work. There’s nothing quite like it for improving productivity. And there’s no doubt that GenreCon’s programming is top-notch, offering world-class presentations, panels, and readings from award-winning writers, sessions intended to help you develop skills, explore current trends, and get the skinny on new markets and opportunities. If you need proof, just scan the programme: there’s horror’s superstar Kaaron Warren presenting her famous Found Things workshop—an absolute must-do—as is Aiki Flinthart’s Fight Like a Girl session, perfect for action thriller writers who want their work to be well-paced and believable. I’m hoping to get to the breakfast session hosted by State Librarian and CEO Vicki MacDonald along with Dr Anita Hess, who’ll be discussing languages and the importance of language and story in the International Year of Indigenous Languages. I attended a presentation by Dr Heiss last year when we were both speaking at New Zealand’s National Writers’ Forum, and I found her incredibly approachable and informative, particularly with regards to cultural sensitivity, so this session has to be excellent way to start the day. But in spite of all the wonderful sessions on offer, the main reason I’m looking forward to GenreCon is for the networking that occurs in and around the margins of the convention. I can’t wait to reconnect with incredible colleagues I’ve met before, people like Alan Baxter, Angela Slatter, Rob Porteous, Carleton Chinner, and Kaaron Warren. However, the antipodean dark fiction community is small and close knit, so there are many more Australian genre writers who I’ve have the privilege of editing, or I’ve appeared in an anthology with, or perhaps we’ve worked together on a committee or judging panel, and there still some others who I know only through reading their work. Imagine my excitement at being able to finally meet these wonderful writers, GenreCon providing the perfect opportunity to connect with them on a personal level and find out what they’re working on now. For newer writers, who haven’t attended a conference before, GenreCon will help you discover like-minded folk who are as weird as you are. People to help you celebrate and commiserate your writing efforts. It offers a safe space to discuss challenges, and work on solutions. A place to find your tribe.
GenreCon: Where can attendees find you?
Lee: Look for me at the Sunday panels, specifically the Report Back from the World panel featuring Sam Hawke, Kaaron Warren, Sarah Williams, Carleton Chinner, where we’ll be giving people some insights on international genre conventions and how to make the most of them. I’ll also be joining Alan Baxter, Aiki Flinthart, Rivqa Rafael, Angela Slatter, Kim Wilkins on Overcoming the Monster where we’ll discuss our favourite fictional monsters and how to beat them. Otherwise, stop me in the corridor and say hello. I’d love to meet you!