Gollancz and Waterstones team up for SFF Festival

Gollancz and Waterstones team up for SFF Festival

Gollancz is to hold a one-day multi-media science fiction and fantasy festival at Waterstones Piccaddilly, featuring authors including Joanne M Harris, Ben Aaronovitch and Patrick Rothfuss.

The event will include readings and panels at the shop, with activities also taking place across platforms including Twitter, Tumblr and YouTube.

The Gollancz Festival will take place on 13th August, in between two major science fiction and fantasy conventions in the capital - Nine Worlds Geekfest on 8th and 9th August, and the World Science Fiction Convention, Loncon 3, from 14th to 18th August.

Gollancz associate publisher Simon Spanton said the festival grew out of the publisher’s desire to offer readers more than just author signings.

“This is one day where we can bring lots of our activities together,” he told The Bookseller.

“Combining that with a time that seemed to be busy [for SFF in London] was a good thing.
“I think there is an unusually good coming together of circumstances that make it a good thing to do this year.”

The Gollancz Festival, which could become a regular event, will include a talk by Rothfuss, author of Name of the Wind, and a reading by Harris from her most recent book, and her first as an SFF writer with Gollancz, The Gospel of Loki.

There will be a chance to meet Gollancz’s 2014 debut authors and to take part in panels discussing topics including the sense of wonder in science fiction.

On social media the festival will begin with tips from authors about what to eat to prepare for a big convention featured on a Pinterest board, vox pops and in conversations on YouTube, and live debates on Twitter and Tumblr.

Sarah Pinborough, author of novels including Charm, Beauty, and Poison, said the festival was a “great opportunity for readers who maybe can’t afford the big conventions or find them hard to commit the time to”.

She added that “in a time when people turn to online sales for books, it’s great to support a physical bookseller like Waterstones”.

James Barclay, author of The Raven saga, agreed, saying the festival was a “way for us to support high street bookshops, something that we as authors and readers must do as often as we can to ensure they not only survive but prosper”.

“What a sad day it would be to see high street bookshops close their doors and deny us the pleasure of their atmosphere, the expertise of their staff, and the simple joy of being amongst books,” he added.

Den Patrick, author of The Boy with the Porcelain Blade, called London “the place for genre this summer”, but said the multimedia element of the festival meant all fans, wherever they are, could enjoy the Gollancz Festival.

Tickets cost £6 for the festival, and £4 for Waterstones loyalty card holders, with everyone attending getting a glass of wine and a Gollancz Festival goody bag.

People who do not have tickets will be able to attend a mass signing with the authors at 7.45pm, and those unable to attend can pre-order signed stock from Waterstones Piccadilly.

Gollancz publisher Gillian Redfearn said: “We are delighted to be working with Waterstones, and so many brilliant authors, to launch the Gollancz Festival.

“It’s for fantasy and science fiction fans everywhere, and with our combination of digital and bookstore activities the festival has a real ethos of inclusivity, whether you’re in Waterstones Piccadilly, on social media, or joining an interactive panel from the other side of the world.”