Conflux is Canberra’s convention of speculative fiction creation and appreciation, held this year on the long weekend of 29 September to 2 October. It’s a writer-friendly gathering of the tribe where writers, readers and aficionados meet to celebrate the speculative fiction community and talk shop.
The theme for this year’s spooooooky 13th convention is Grimm Tales: we’re talking dark fairy tales, or as I like to think of it, culturally-reinforced moral education through horror.
The programming alone is worth it, especially for new aspiring and emerging writers, with streams on the craft and business of writing, as well as discussions of folklore, pop culture and fiction ranging from the cheerfully chatty through to the thoughtful and nigh-academic.
This year there are panels about horror in fairy tales, magic schools, female villains and the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter (which is ridiculous as it has definitely not been that long since they came out), and that’s just the tiniest taste of the goodness on offer.
But if that doesn’t convince you to seriously consider participating, then this year’s guests ought to:
- The International Guest of Honour is Ellen Datlow, who recently added yet another Best Editor, Short Form Hugo to her long list of awards and recognition as one of the world’s premiere editors of short SF, fantasy and horror fiction.
- The Australian guest is Angela Slatter, one of this country’s best writers of short fantasy fiction, not to mention one of its most prolific. (Seriously, any of her numerous short fiction collections are more than worth your while. I started with Sourdough and Other Stories and never looked back, and I’m really looking forward to diving into her novels).
- The MC is Kaaron Warren, about whom I cannot say enough wildly flattering things, so let’s just stick with the fact that her latest novel The Grief Hole is one of the best things I’ve read this year.
- Finally, Meri Amber is making another appearance as the Musical Guest, and will be launching a brand new EP which she wrote and recorded specifically to launch at this convention! (Guests don’t come much more dedicated than that!)
On top of all that, Conflux is just a fun convention – laid back, with interesting panels, bad jokes and a generally celebratory attitude towards the genres we love. If you think you can make it, I honestly can’t recommend it enough.
You can get tickets from the website (this page) and I hope you’ll be able to make it this year.