S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen


So. An entire conference devoted to Diana Wynne Jones and, improbably (because of the topic), I gave a paper.

It was a lovely conference, by and large, around 50 people most of the time, although a total of about 70 were pre-registered. We were in a conference bubble for the weekend, staying and working at a semi-rural university in greater Bristol and - due to lack of appropriate tech support from the university - generally without internet access for the duration. I was planning on being offline; most people were not. There was a full program of papers, double tracked on Saturday, a handful of plenaries (including Sharyn November channelling DWJ), a HarperCollins-sponsored drinks reception, and a showing of the 1992 BBC six-parter of Archer's Goon. Despite the threatened heavy rain, the weather was almost entirely good. intertext, heleninwales, gillo were there. steepholm and fjm organized it. I have now met lady_schrapnell, among a great many other engaging people who may or may not have weblogs.

That there are a great many interesting things to say about our author was evident from how, at the end of the weekend, it felt as if we'd barely scratched the surface. Many books weren't mentioned at all in any paper I attended, or mentioned only transiently, especially her early work and her short stories. No one spoke about Dogsbody, for example, which would have made a good pairing with the two papers on The Game. The Howl series was - as expected - ever-popular. Dalemark was only occasionally attended to.

I'm happy to say that my paper went well. I boiled it down to a reasonable subset for twenty minutes, and had a good discussion about it with the audience afterwards. I also didn't feel as out-of-my-depth as I was expecting to, given it was a conference so far removed from my usual ones. Best of all, mine was part of a session of really well-presented papers. It was a real pleasure to listen to the others in it.
Tags: academia
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