Because readers are writers and writers are readers – opportunities for chat, signings and honing your own creativity at EightSquaredCon.

We often debate the difficulties of drawing a dividing line between SF and Fantasy in our beloved genre. But what about the challenge of establishing where ‘reader’ ends and ‘writer’ begins? Every published writer started out as a reader and any number of readers are busily writing in their spare time; some in hopes of publication, some just to share their enthusiasms with friends, some entirely for their own satisfaction.

One of the great pleasures of any convention is having a chance to chat with your favourite writers and maybe getting your books signed. Even better, you may find yourself drawn into conversation with a favourite author and another writer in the same genre whose works you haven’t read yet. Occasionally, you’ll get chatting to someone and only discover in the course of conversation that they’re a writer you’ve heard of but not read – and you would never have dared to talk to them if you’d known, for fear of having to admit that!

This year, EightSquaredCon are planning Genre Get-Together sessions in the Cedar Court’s Conservatory over the course of the weekend. These will be somewhere between a kaffeeklatch and a formal signing. Authors working in the same sub-genre within the broad scope of speculative fiction will be able to sit and chat with each other and like-minded readers. So come along with a beer, coffee or other beverage of choice to join in the conversation.

These Get-Togethers will be your chance to bring your books to be signed, so make sure you check out this particular schedule. This is also where we’ll be offering the free books so generously donated by the publishers supporting Eastercon. While it’s great to get a book in your welcome pack, it’s less of a thrill if it’s a title you’ve already got. So we’re trying to find the best way to get the right books into the right hands. Do come along and see what’s on offer.

For more formal discussion of writing by our Guests of Honour, we’re running book groups on Walter Jon Williams’ ‘This Is Not A Game’ (and sequels), and Freda Warrington’s ‘Elfland’ (and doubtless her other books will get mentioned). The Edward James discussion will focus on ‘The Origins of France: From Clovis to the Capetians 500-1000’. Get reading and come along to talk about the books and the ideas and people within them.

For those looking for more detailed insight into the craft of writing, we’re scheduling panels on editing truths and myths, on characterisation, on scene-setting and also on the how and why that drives a story; motivation and internal consistency. Editors and writers will be sharing their practical experience and observations from both sides of publishing. You can also find a current list of attending authors on the website , though bear in mind that list will doubtless be subject to change between now and the convention itself.

You can put actual pen to paper at one or both of our two Flash Fiction Writing Workshops. One will focus on fanfiction with a crossover potential, the other will offer genre prompts for timed fiction writing. Sharing your writing will be encouraged but not compulsory. For the fanfiction workshop, please be ready to suggest at least two fandoms (books, shows or movies you’ve enjoyed). No experience is required and these sessions will be led by Tanya Brown and Kate Keen, both of whom are capable, amiable and well practised at running such workshops.

There will be a Poetry Read-Around, for those who express themselves in verse, whether blank or rhymed. This will be a performance session rather than a critical or analytical one. Simply bring along some poems and take your turn sharing them with a friendly audience.

So whether you’re a reader first, or a writer first, come along to one or more of these events and be inspired.

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