So I was the person sitting in the audience and knitting. I finished one sock and cast on the second and did the cuff. I also listened to panels discussing the best short fiction of 2010, epublishing, an interview with Connie Willis, Ann and Jeff Vandermeer's presentation on their 2010 and 2011 projects and Connie turned her reading into a discussion on the research and anecdotes that didn't make it into Blackout and All Clear. I sat on a table in the hallway at 6pm with some of my books but it turned out to be dinner time so that kinda sucked. But some lovely people came over to talk to me and keep me company! And then I went to the discussion on the WSFA Small Press Award - its history and how it works. And then the mass signing followed by the WSFA Small Press Award and the Last Drink Bird Awards. And it was announced that Connie Willis has been invited to join the Heinlein Society Board of Directors.
So ... Tansy Rayner Robers won the WSFA Small Press Award for Siren Beat and I happily accepted the trophy on her behalf and one for myself. Tansy has blogged her speech which I read out, with only a few interjections. And here is a quick photo (they took a bunch there and I'm sure they'll look great).
It was an absolute honour to just be nominated for this award and to win with the kind of ballot that we had is just utterly humbling. I'm so proud of Tansy. I really believe this was the best piece she'd written when I published it - cause I have of course read newer work of hers since and I think she is such an exciting writer right now. She's growing and evolving as a writer at alarming speed and I am expecting bigger and better things and can't wait!
After the award ceremony and the photos and so on, I was asked if I was interested in being interviewed for Fast Forward which was freaking cool! They had a small TV studio set up in one of the hotel bedrooms - like backdrop, cameras, lighting, sound and everything! It was the coooolest thing!!!! I'm not sure the interview is all that interesting but it will be edited etc and then might be available for viewing on the internet soonish.
So that was sorta my day but doesn't really sum up my experience. I thanked WSFA in my preamble to Tansy's thank you speech for their support of small press through the recognition of what we do via this award. When I saw the initial call out to publishers to submit to this award (we can only submit 3 stories a year for consideration) I was so moved that they were specifically seeking to recognise small press. And I knew these would be my people. But coming here, I've just had so many fantastic moments - even sometimes just the briefest of conversations. I've felt so welcome here. Colleen has made me feel very welcome as have Ann and Jeff. They've all made sure I wasn't eating alone or floating about looking awkward and that's made such a huge difference.
But also, many people have taken the time to chat to me and I've learned so many things. I've ended up in really interesting conversations with quite a few convention chairs. I'm thoroughly ... amused? I guess ... at how the name of the convention and the location it's held in can change but the problems don't. I love how quickly you can bond over some things. I was in a line waiting to order food wayyyy after the kitchen closed for lunch and ended up having an awesome conversation with a woman who runs a New York con. No matter where you go, and no matter how many times you explain to the hotel what the food and drink requirements will be, "they don't believe you" - those are her words but I believe the words I've heard many a time from Conflux con com. For some reason, I found it all really comforting - like, this is all just par of the course. Comforting but I guess frustrating that some of these issues might just be insurmountable.
I've been asking a lot of different people whether they think cons are dying out - so many people here are con com from all kinds of cons from this size up to Worldcon. It's been interesting discussions and I have learned a few things and have some ideas to bring back to WASFF. I'm split btw on whether I think they are dying or not.
The other thing that I find ... surreal is not the word for it. Very few people who make up this extended SF community of ours have it as our day job. And I'm so fascinated by how little our day job or "mundane" personas creep into this world. People are known and respected for the roles and parts they play in this reality - from con com to association members to writers and publishers and so on. We have this other social world that is entirely unrelated to our other, non SF, lives. It's fascinating how little they bleed into one another.
The other thing I love is how you can travel half way across the world and find people you just click with. People who you know you now cannot live without continuing to know and talk to and so on. I've met a few people like that this weekend. What a great extra bonus gift!
That's probably all for now. I have a bunch of other posts I want to get to - my head is freeing up without daily grind and is sorting through thoughts and ideas. So yes, I might overblog this weekend :)