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How to Write Fantasy Fiction

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1st July 2017 - 8:30am to 5:30pm


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If you want to learn more about how to write fantasy fiction, this full-day conference dedicated to the genre offers the chance to work with leading authors on essential aspects of the writing process, and also the opportunity to hear from publishers and literary agents.  

This is a day designed to give you the chance to learn from acclaimed authors, network with peers, meet some of the gatekeepers of the fantasy fiction publishing world, gain insight into the current marketplace and find out more about how best to increase your chances of getting published.

The day includes:

- Two practical writing workshops with leading authors on key elements of writing fantasy fiction. Leading these workshops will be acclaimed authors Ben Aaronovitch and Claire North.

- Keynote speech on the process of world-building with best-selling author M.R. Carey

- Commissioning Editors and Publishing Directors in discussion on the current fantasy fiction marketplace 

- Interactive panel-discussion with UK literary agents on how to submit your manuscript

- Networking drinks reception with fellow delegates and speakers


08.30 – 09.00 Welcome coffee and tea

09.00 – 10.30 Workshop 1: Gripping your reader from the off: writing a compelling introduction to your world with Ben Aaronovitch

10.30-10.50 Water Break

10.50- 12.20 Workshop 2: The Hero’s Journey: pacing and plotting your fantasy novel with Claire North

12.20- 13.10 Lunch

13.10- 14.10 Key note speaker on the process of world-building with M.R. Carey

14.10-15.10 Gillian Redfearn, Publishing Director of Gollancz, and Bella Pagan, Editorial Director at PanMacmillan and Tor will discuss publishing fantasy fiction and the state of the current marketplace

15.10-15.25 Water Break

15.25-16.25 How to submit your work to an agent: panel discussion with leading literary agents Meg Davis and Danielle Zigner

16.25-17.30 Networking drinks 

Speaker Profiles

M. R. Carey has been making up stories for most of his life. His novel The Girl With All the Gifts was a word-of-mouth bestseller and is now a major motion picture based on his own screenplay. Under the name Mike Carey he has written for both DC and Marvel, including critically acclaimed runs on X-Men and Fantastic Four, Marvel's flagship superhero titles. His creator-owned books regularly appear in the New York Times graphic fiction bestseller list. He also has several previous novels, two radio plays and a number of TV and movie screenplays to his credit. Follow M. R. Carey on Twitter as @MichaelCarey191 and on Facebook at

Ben Aaronovitch grew up as part of a famously engaged and lively North London family. He has written for many TV series including Doctor Who and worked as a bookseller. His bestselling Peter Grant novels have been hugely successful and he now writes full time. He still lives in London, the city he likes to refer to as 'the capital of the world'.’

Claire North is a pseudonym for British author Catherine Webb. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August was her first novel published under the Claire North name, and was one of the fastest-selling new SFF titles of the last ten years. It was selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club, the Radio 2 Book Club and the Waterstones Book Club promotions. Her next novel Touch was published in 2015 to widespread critical acclaim and was described by the Independent as 'little short of a masterpiece.' Catherine is a fan of big cities, urban magic, Thai food and graffiti-spotting. She lives in London.

Gillian Redfearn is the Publishing Director of Gollancz, which is: the science fiction and fantasy imprint of the Orion Publishing Group; the oldest SFF publisher in the world; home to the renowned SF Masterworks; home to the SFGateway (the largest digital SFF archive in the world); and publisher of some of the most influential and successful science fiction, fantasy and horror authors in the world. Starting in publishing as the Gollancz Editorial Assistant in 2004, since then Gillian has worked with authors including Joe Abercrombie, Aliette de Bodard, Kristin Cashore, Charlaine Harris, Joanne Harris, Joe Hill, Scott Lynch, Patrick Rothfuss, Pierre Pevel, Sarah Pinborough, Alastair Reynolds, Brandon Sanderson and Nalini Singh. A particular fan of character-driven stories and strong voices in fiction, she’s always on the lookout for a gripping new novel. 

Bella Pagan is Editorial Director for Pan Macmillan and its Tor imprint in the UK. Her role includes buying, editing and managing the publication of wonderful fantasy, science fiction and genre/mainstream crossover novels for her list. She loves exciting, page-turning books with heart, where you become emotionally invested in fabulous characters. Before joining Pan Macmillan, Bella commissioned books in the same area for Little, Brown's Orbit, where she worked for almost ten years. Hobbies include reading speculative fiction, watching it on the big and small screen, and talking about it. Other fabulous hobbies depend on what time is left! You can find her on twitter as @BellaPagan.

After taking a degree in Russian at McGill University, Meg Davis worked as a restaurant manager, semi-professional musician, and theatre crew.  A job in a bookshop led to the inspiration to become a literary agent.

Meg started as an assistant at MBA Literary Agents, and soon started to take on her own clients in books, film, TV and theatre.  In June 2011 she started her own company, Ki Agency Ltd, to represent authors and scriptwriters, as film/TV rights for some other agencies. Meg’s clients include bestselling authors Anne Perry and Simon Scarrow, author/scriptwriter Mike Carey, and author Claire North.

Meg has served as co-Chair of the Dramatists’ section of the PMA, on the management board of Public Lending Right, and as the external examiner for the MA in Scriptwriting course at Sheffield Hallam. She is currently Chair of the Writers’ Organisations Advisory Group, and serving a second stint on the committee of the Association of Authors’ Agents.

Danielle Zigner joined LBA Books as a Junior Agent in 2014, after having spent a year working with a number of publishers and agencies, and has been since actively building her list. Her heartland lies with Young Adult literature, and she’s open to all genres within that. She’d love to find some quirky YA, as well as some YA romance and fantasy.She also loves adult fantasy and science-fiction, as well as historical thrillers, and is keen to take on clients in these areas.

Event details

The event will be held at Bloomsbury Publishing, 50 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3DP. Doors will open at 8.30am, with teas and coffees provided upon arrival.

The talks will begin at 09.00am prompt, finishing at 17.30 for a drinks reception. 


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