UK LGBTQ Fiction Meet 2013 (Manchester)
I loved last year’s meet, but this one was even better. More people, more days, and this year, we weren’t as intimidated as the last time. Not that the attendees were intimidating in 2012, but being complete newbies, the perspective of meeting so many people who were already “on the in” made us both excited and anxious. This time however, we were too happy to meet some of our real-life and online friends to be nervous. Obviously, we got to know many new people as well
We arrived in Manchester on Thursday and took our time to take a look at the city, which essentially meant so much walking around that out feet were going numb by the end of the day. But we loved it, especially the monumental architecture and the number of local cafes and bars. Not that many chain restaurants here. Cruising through the streets, we found a building that housed numerous alternative stores: with everything from goth jewelry to manga-themed bags. There was even a lovely 50s-themed milkshake place on the second floor and they ran a challenge of drinking a milkshake from a skull-shaped glass and made out of a litre of ice cream. And if you beat the best challenger’s time, you get the drink for free. Obviously, we didn’t do it, but it would be fun to watch ;D There were only male names on the challenger board… no surprise there ;D
At the end of the lovely day, we visited the Manchester Art Gallery, which is small, but has a very interesting collection. That evening, there was a special event and visitors were invited to draw, dance, and the whole building echoed with music. I must admit I appreciated the slight noise, as it encouraged me to chat with Kat about the artwork and there weren’t many people in the galleries anyway.
Friday was a slow day. On a road crossing close to the event venue, we bumped into Alexandr Voinov and L.A. Witt, and if that wasn’t a perfect start of the weekend, I don’t know what would be ;D Most of the day was dedicated to catching up with friends, and meeting new people in the hotel lobby and in the end, we ate dinner in Canal Street.
Saturday and Sunday were filled with panels and further networking/having fun with amazing people. Me and Kat split from time to time, as contrary to popular belief me and Kat aren’t ALWAYS joined at the hip I enjoyed the Reviewers panel, Claire London even quoted one of the reviews for Special Needs and I had to agree with Serena Yates‘ reviewing policy. It is refreshing to listen to opinions like those after watching some of the things that are happening on Goodreads.
The Perfect Blog (waves at Kay Berrisford, who used our guest post as an example), Publishers’ and Social Media panels were very informative as well. My only regret is that I missed a chance to be a character in Jo Myles‘ book, but I hope there will be a contest like that next year, because being a character in a book of an author you like is one hell of a prize! ;D
This year’s meet was full of surprises. We met Danni Keane, the person who prompted our LHNB story, In His Shoes, and in the course of conversation, it turned out she lives very close to us, so we agreed to talk over coffee some time Other than that, we managed to (apparently) freak out Anna Martin with our impromptu idea for a dino-shifter story and Kat “hijacked” Dreamspinner‘s twitter account. Don’t trust the Merikans, there will be chaos ;D
We both wanted to send hugs and kisses to all the people who made this weekend special, you know who you are Special thanks go to the UK Meet team, because the event wouldn’t be possible without them. Can’t wait for next year!
And now some more memories from the city:
P.S. The hotel had the Best.Donuts.Ever.