Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ist Annual Darklit Fest of Durham

Yesterday I was lucky enough to attend some of Darklit Fest of Durham, which was held at the Oshawa library. I was there with two friends and we particularly wanted to hear the panel on Putting YA in the Graveyard:writng supernatural teen fiction and to meet Kelley Armstrong, who was the guest of honour.We didn't get there until 2.00 pm as the YA panel was the one that really interested us but there were lots of other great things going on. If you are at all interested in what you missed, check out THIS LINK to the festival home page.

Participating on the YA panel were Kelley Armstrong, Megan Crewe and Robert Paul Weston, and Joel Sutherland (who writes for younger readers) was the moderator. (Unfortunately, Lesley Livingstone had to cancel.) I could write an essay on the questions asked and answers given, but I'll just say that it was very interesting listening to three successful authors discuss their take on the trends in YA publishing today. Just before the panel, each author did a short reading from their novels.

Published April 2011 by Harper Collins

Maya lives in a small medical-research town on Vancouver Island. How small? You can’t find it on the map. It has less than two-hundred people, and her school has only sixty-eight students—for every grade from kindergarten to twelve. Now, strange things are happening in this claustrophobic town, and Maya's determined to get to the bottom of them. First, the captain of the swim team drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. A year later, mountain lions start appearing around Maya's home, and they won’t go away. Her best friend, Daniel, starts getting negative vibes from certain people and things. It doesn't help that the new bad boy in town, Rafe, has a dangerous secret—and he's interested in one special part of Maya's anatomy: Her paw-print birthmark.

Published Sept 2009 by Henry Holt

Cass McKenna much prefers ghosts over "breathers". Ghosts are uncomplicated and dependable, and they know the dirt on everybody... and Cass loves dirt. She's on a mission to expose the dirty secrets of the poseurs in her school. But when the vice president of the student council discovers her secret, Cass's whole scheme hangs in the balance. Tim wants her to help him contact his recently deceased mother, and Cass reluctantly agrees. As Cass becomes increasingly entwined in Tim's life, she's surprised to realize he's not so bad — and he needs help more desperately than anyone else suspects. Maybe it’s time to give the living another chance...

Published September 2010 by Razorbill

Who's afraid of the big bad wolf?
His son, that's who.
Ever since his father's arrest for the murder of Little Red Riding Hood, teen wolf Henry Whelp has kept a low profile in a Home for Wayward Wolves . . . until a murder at the Home leads Henry to believe his father may have been framed.
Now, with the help of his kleptomaniac roommate, Jack, and a daring she-wolf named Fiona, Henry will have to venture deep into the heart of Dust City; a rundown, gritty metropolis where fairydust is craved by everyone and controlled by a dangerous mob of Water Nixies and their crime boss leader, Skinner. Can Henry solve the mystery of his family's sinister past? Or, like his father before him, is he destined for life as a big bad wolf?

Kelley, as guest of honour, did a reading from The Gathering, and answered some questions by herself at the end of the session. Lots of questions and answers that we've heard before, but this one stood out.

Q Is there any genre or subject that you would like to write about that you haven't yet tried?

A Werewolf Western!

Isn't that a hoot. There were several publishers there for the 'Pitch' sessions earlier in the day, and it was really funny when one of them spoke up and said if Kelley wanted to write a werewolf western, they would publish it. Who knows what we might see in Kelley's future!

I came home with signed copies of Dust City and Give up the Ghost, so look for reviews of those in the near(ish) future, and as soon as I can lay my hands on a copy of The Gathering, you'll see that review as well. All in all a fun afternoon, and I got to have lunch with friends into the bargain. What more could you ask?


  1. Thanks for coming out to the event and I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it! It was too bad Lesley had to cancel but I'll be organizing the DarkLit Fest again next year and she's already been invited. Kelley, Megan and Rob were all fantastic and I couldn't be happier with the way the entire day went.

    Joel A. Sutherland

  2. Joel, if I had realised you had published so much I would have mentioned more about you. That's what happens when you arrive a little late. My colleagues and I had a great couple of hours. Looking forward to next year!