Twice Upon a Time in Oxford

Recently, I went to two writing-reading-story-wonderfulness events in Oxford. The first was a talk held at Blackwell’s, the only shop I’ve ever been in that feels less ‘shop’ and more ‘home’. The talk was called How To Write YA Fiction, and featured two of my favourite authors, Melinda Salisbury and Kiran Millwood Hargrave. The third speaker was Samantha Shannon, who I can’t claim as a fave yet because I haven’t read any of her books – but she’s next on my list, and I’m sure I’m going to love her work as much as everyone else in the room. I won’t recap the talk too much, because it’s brilliantly broken down in the blog I linked above, but (even with an annoying bout of anxiety getting in the way) I can confirm that it was a fantastic evening. It was wonderful to sit there and soak up the thoughts and insights from three incredibly talented authors, all of whom have an unmistakable passion not only for writing, but for the whole world around it.

The second event was the total opposite of the first – OxCon. Instead of soaking up a writing atmosphere, I, along with my bestie and Footloose co-conspirator Emily Brady, were in creator-mode for the whole weekend, selling comics and talking to our fellow geeks about our work (as well as a whole load of other topics). The con didn’t seem to be as well-attended as last year, and there were a lot of very slow moments – but there were also some absolutely wonderful highlights. The best was when a young reader who’d bought some of our comics last year came up specifically to find us so that she could read some more – it was brilliant chatting to her and her mum about the story and hearing how much she loved it. We also sold a set of our ‘character archetype’ badges to two members of an improv team who were planning to use them for a game that they’d come up with on the spot – and, towards the end of the last day, we also got to chat with the Sixth Doctor himself, Colin Baker.

Story World is a hugely varied world, that works in ways far beyond the act of just sitting down and writing, but I wouldn’t trade being in that world for anything. Even if I do need about three flasks of coffee to get through a small local con.


About Alice Nuttall

Alice Nuttall is a caffeine-guzzling knitter who divides her time between Oxford and the various worlds in her head. She is the author of a YA fantasy novel, Spider Circus, and three webcomics, Footloose, Cherry, and Black Market Magic, as well as several short stories.
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