Nerd East – Talking Writing and Roleplay

This Saturday, the 3rd of June, I’m returning to the Nerd East convention in Durham. I’ll be moderating a panel with some other very exciting authors. Here’s the announcement from the organisers….


We’re hugely excited to announce an incredible author panel for this year’s Nerd East – perhaps our best literary event ever!

In honour of the event’s theme, the topic is:
“How has roleplay influenced your writing?”

Our panellists:
Juliet E McKenna is the author of fantasy series The Tales of Einarinn, The Aldabreshin Compass, The Chronicles of the Lescari Revolution and The Hadrumal Crisis, as well as other standalone books and stories.
R. A. Smith is author of paranormal fantasy series The Grenshall Manor Chronicles, with two books published so far and a third in the works.
Jeannette Ng‘s first novel, Under The Pendulum Sun, is a story of missionaries in fairyland and is due to be published in October.

Our moderator is Andrew Knighton, a freelance writer and author of short stories and novels ranging across science fiction, fantasy, steampunk and historical fiction.

All four have backgrounds in roleplay and gaming of varying kinds, and we hope you’ll be as keen as we are to hear their insights on this subject and, I suspect, many others!

The convention timetable is filling up, but there’s still room for more…. If you’d be interest in trading, speaking or running an event, get in touch – !

Writing Lessons From My Early Nerdery

Dignity was never my top priority as a student
Dignity was never my top priority as a student

Preparing to head back to Durham for the Nerd East convention has me feeling all nostalgic. I lived and studied there for seven years in total, and though I didn’t do much writing it has really shaped me as a writer. Joining the live roleplay society got me back into fantasy and science fiction in a big way, as well as giving me lots of great friends and character ideas. My first published story was in the university Science Fiction and Fantasy Society’s in-house fanzine, and won me a week’s worth of calories in chocolate form.

And as always, there were the lessons that weren’t directly writing related but have proved useful. I learned to work with others creating plots through LRP, as well as finding out how much chainmail weighs. I gained the confidence to put my stories and other creations out there. I watched a wide range of science fiction and fantasy films, making me better informed about the genres. And where else but a university game of killer could I have experienced what it’s like to stake out someone’s house? (I mean aside from the mob.)

Often the things we label as distractions provide useful lessons. Sure, that’s less true of all the time I spent drinking in the Student Union bar, but then I never needed my dignity all that much.

Or my liver.

If you’re in north east England then you can hear me talk on this more, as well as enjoying a day of geekery and gaming, on 30 May at Nerd East.