I picked my favourite books of the year and thought I should take a moment to look back at all the super booky and publishing events I’ve been to this year, from conferences to book festivals, and pick a few highlights too. Edinburgh Book Festival.
It always features, but having gone to over 30 of their events this August, I can’t just pick one. I will, however, pick a few! Illuminating the Art of Illustration with Chris Riddell, Oliver Jeffers and Chris Haughton was fun; Alan Cumming, just because he’s brilliant; Matt Haig giving the Siobhan Dowd Trust Memorial Lecture on how books can save lives; Ali Smith, with her part on libraries in particular. They were all wonderful events, so I’ve probably missed one or twenty six off the list. Slight tangent, but seeing Nick Barley talk about the impact of book festivals was another fun thing of the year.
For anyone who doesn’t know me, I like publishing, and I like digital, so to go to FutureBook was fun. I wrote a blog on the Future of the Physical Book and won two tickets, and had a round-trip to London to see people including the CEO of Pottermore talk about plenty of bits and bobs in the business.
The Children’s Media Conference.
I was asked to be one of the bloggers for TCMC in Sheffield. On top of blogging about some brilliant events, I took the time to squeeze in as many sessions as possible, including this publishing one. Never again in life will there be an opportunity to attend an industry event where Dick and Dom sit in a cinema cracking up as they watch themselves play Bogies (a certified classic of Bogies) on a massive screen.
On top of digital, I like magazines. I grew up reading them, I currently write for some, so a day dedicated to the magazine industry was another great one. Personal highlight (music mag bias, I guess!) was Niall Stokes from Hot Press, although there were loads of great events. The SYP magazine event in association with PPA was a nice preamble to the full thing too!
This was my first year at Aye Write, and I got to see some brilliant events. Zoe Howe and Douglas Hart talking the Jesus and Mary Chain was a good one. Then there was Mark Millar on the graphic novels that made him, which was the moment that I (very late in the game) decided to change my entire dissertation to look at the comic book industry, which was a good choice since I got a distinction and had fun writing it!
The Saltire Society Literary Awards.
So, one big thing I enjoyed this year was organising the Saltire Society shadow judging panels for the awards. I’m hoping it’s the first of many years, but it was just a great thing for students and young professionals, and I do like a project to organise! The awards themselves were fab. One of my favourite books of the year won an award, and Michel Faber’s speech stuck with me when I finally got around to finishing The Book of Strange New Things. I like Scotland – our literary scene is rad.
I think there will be one more blog… You can’t do a year of highlights without mentioning getting a puppy, so that’ll likely come tomorrow… But for booky- and publishing-based things alone, 2015 has been really good.