I’ve been thinking the last few days about writing IF, and IF craftsmanship, and community, and the IF community, and it occurred to me that one thing I’d really to have, as an IF author and player, is an IF Writer’s Festival. We have a lot of competitions encouraging people to release new works, and a lot of ad hoc craft discussion, but we don’t really have any events that deliberately bring people together to share their craft and enthusiasm. (Online events, that is - I know there are various offline get-togethers, but not everyone can make it to one.)
I haven’t thought this through very thoroughly yet, and I’m certainly not committing to anything, but I wanted to put out some feelers to the community. Is this something other people would be interested in “attending” and/or contributing to? If there’s enough interest, I can start looking seriously at how practical this is for me to run. I’m also very open to suggestions and ideas.
My thoughts so far:
Well, firstly, it has to be an online festival - I can’t very well host anything live from my rural corner of Western Australia. I’d want to make it easy for people all over the world to join and contribute, so I imagine the “talks” being written material that I can post on the festival website over the duration of the festival. I’m open to a variety of formats: articles/essays; interviews; panel discussions if there’s a group of contributors who’d like to share an email or IM conversation. Heck, if someone came up with a suitable workshop format, that’d be fantastic.
Time-frame: what about the middle of the year, maybe June? There’s a space in between the Spring Thing and IFComp. Just before IFComp opens seems like a good time to start getting people enthusiastic about writing some IF! Depending on how many people were interested in contributing, I could space the posts out over a few days, or a week.
I’d really want the festival to be a showcase of the diversity of voices and practices in recent IF, and to be an opportunity for people who might not normally talk craft with each other to share what they’re doing. So I would be looking at inviting people from various IF communities to “speak”, as well as people from outside the wider IF community who are doing interesting IF-adjacent work. I’d also like to have a curated showcase of recent works available for people to play, with the same intention of highlighting a diverse range of voices and creative practices. It would be great to be able to promote this to people outside of the IFsphere as an introduction to what’s happening in IF at the moment. (Yes, I’m aware that this entire paragraph is hugely ambitious!)