The Literary Festival at Fantasy Faire 2019

The Literary Festival hosts an event in the Trollmouth - picture by Gwen Enchanted
The Literary Festival hosts an event in the Trollmouth – picture by Gwen Enchanted

The Literary Festival at Fantasy Faire ran right through the 2019 event … and beyond!

We had poetry prompts and open mics sessions, guest readers (including our Guest of Honour, Elizabeth Bear), a dramatic performance in Overtroll, and, of course, the LitFest Tours (also known as The Company of Faire Folk Rides Out). We even had a Book Table which helped you purchase the books of authors who had appeared here!

Morning reading in Bookfold Woods, photographed by Saffia Widdershins
Morning reading in Bookfold Woods, photographed by Saffia Widdershins

Mornings started early with a range of events mentored by Adele Ward, which perhaps particularly appealed to Europeans – although plenty of Americans got up early to join us too!

Fauve Aeon says:”I was really happy about the Prompts and the Dashes. There were indwelling writers successfully writing every day on the Region!! It was a true festival/workshop spirit among those who attended these activities and we all remarked on it.”

Working on a prompt by Fauve Aeon
Working on a prompt by Fauve Aeon

Adele says: “The daily prompts and daily open mics were memorable for me, with at least one open mic every day so that people were writing at the prompts then coming to the open mics to share what they’d written. A real bond of friendship grew up between people who were participating every day, whether they were new or whether they’d known each other for years. That felt very special and we got so much writing done while getting to know each other.”

Events in Trollmouth, photographed by Gwen Enchanted
Events in Trollmouth, photographed by Gwen Enchanted

Later in the day, there were more reader events, with a group of people from CeSoir joining us on several days (their first visit to the LitFest, facilitated by Aoife Lorefield), some to read their own works, and some to read the works of others. Boudicaa Amat joined us for one of her popular readings too – she regards performing at the Fairelands as the highlight of her year and always appreciates being asked to take part in this wonderful annual Event. Ceejay Writer shared one of her steampunk tales – The Steamkettle Kids and The Lucky Tentacles. And the Seanchai Library joined us for evening readings on three separate days.

Elizabeth Bear interview, with Saffia Widdershins and Nathan Ballard, photographed by Grace Enchanted
Elizabeth Bear interview, with Saffia Widdershins and Nathan Ballard, photographed by Grace Enchanted

A highlight for the year were two appearances by our Guest of Honour, the science fiction and fantasy writer Elizabeth Bear, the Hugo, Sturgeon, Locus, and Campbell Award winning author of dozens of novels; over a hundred short stories; and a number of essays, nonfiction, and opinion pieces for markets as diverse as Popular Mechanics and The Washington Post. These visits were facilitated by an old friend of hers, Nathaniel Ballard. She joined us for an interview on her first visit, and read from her two latest novels and discussed her work as a futurist on her second visit. These events were very well attended, and Elizabeth enjoyed herself – and her avatar, designed by Gwen Enchanted, which Elizabeth described as “looking like me – with better hair!”

Elizabeth Bear at the Literary Festival in Trollmouth
Elizabeth Bear at the Literary Festival in Trollmouth, photographed by Fauve Aeon

Ceejay Writer adds, “I was really impressed with how easily and happily Elizabeth Bear adapted to being in Second Life. She kept her sense of humor and seemed to be a quick learner.  I would genuinely love for Elizabeth to feel that she can jump in any time she wishes, either just to play, or to promote herself, or attend other events herself. Being open-minded to many ways of experiencing life is a wonderful thing.”

The Pawlice kept an eye on the Literary Festival! Photographs by Gwen Enchanted
The Pawlice kept an eye on the Literary Festival! Photographs by Gwen Enchanted

Other guests who joined us were Maxwell Grantley and Nika Thought-werk, who both read from and talked about their own works. We also hosted a very lively talk with Linda Antonsson (aka Freyja Nemeth) and Elio García (aka Ran Garrigus) who run the oldest A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones website, Westeros.org. The pair also co-authored The World of Ice and Fire with George R.R. Martin. They lead a fascinating discussion this year on the subject of Fan Theories about The Game of Thrones – a very pertinent and timely topic!

Fauve Aeon created our Book Table with inworld books by our guests, supplying links to pages where the real world book could be purchased!

The Book Table at the Literary Festival - photograph by Saffia Widdershins
The Book Table at the Literary Festival – photograph by Saffia Widdershins

Other events included Ktahdn Vesuvino who presented a multimedia experience, combining sculptures, photos, poetry and music, and a regular annual visit by the group lead by Ceejay Writer to present the pirate group telling their Tall Tales and Outright Lies!

Adele says, “I’d like to arrange a few more readings by authors next year, like Huckleberry Hax, who is great and was ill this year so couldn’t take part. People enjoyed KT’s pictures, poetry and music about his sand sculptures so I think people often like to sit back and be entertained as well as having literary festival activities where they can take part.”

The Company of Faire Folke start to gether for another Riding Out! Photograph by Fauve Aeon
The Company of Faire Folke start to gether for another Riding Out! Photograph by Fauve Aeon

Every day at 5pm, the Company of Faire Folk set out on their explorations, each day visiting a separate Faireland (or region, in common parlance).  These LitFest Tours proved very popular, as did the HUD designed by Aoife Lorefield that allowed people to make Tours on their own by providing landmarks and prompts, as well as proving very useful of the Tours themselves.

The HUD for the LitFest Tours
The HUD for the LitFest Tours

The Tours are an event in themselves, with the Company often sharing stories as they travel, but they are also intended to encourage people to write about the Fairelands as they travel across them. These appeared on the Fantasy Faire blog and the special Tales pages on the website (and submissions received up till the end of May will also be added to the Tales section of the website). So far we have received thirty-seven tales and poems covering all sixteen regions!

The Tours were led by Saffia Widdershins and Gwen Enchanted, and music matching the regions we explored was supplied by Nyza Stillwater and Astoria Luminos.

The Company at the Light of Va’loth, captured by Gwen Enchanted

Fauve says, “I loved the Company of Faire Folk and the Tours, and the fact that we will go on to gather beyond the Faire as well.”

Saffia adds, “One thing that gave me great pleasure was the number of people who came regularly to the events, and were inspired to write. And several regular visitors said that the Tours were a highlight of the Faire for them.”


In addition to this, the Faire celebrated Ursula K.Le Guin Day with readings from Ce Soir and the Seanchai Library, a discussion led by Aoife Lorefield, and a very popular Earthsea Ball which was over $110,000 Lindens including matching donations by the Seanchai Library and the LitFest team!

The Jewel Theatre Presents Scheherazade’s Daughters - picture by Caitlin Tobias
The Jewel Theatre Presents Scheherazade’s Daughters – picture by Caitlin Tobias

Trollhaugen and the Literary Festival were also hosts to two performances by the Jewell Theatre, who presented Scheherazade’s Daughters – a modern take on an old classic. Cursed to tell endless tales endlessly in Cyberspace, Scheherazade’s Daughters spin their stories until they break the rules and tell their own forbidden story.

All the Literary Festival pages were maintained and edited by Ceejay Writer, who also undertook the Herculean task of keeping the calendar up to date.

If you look carefully, you can read the story that entranced the Troll - photographed by Saffia Widdershins
If you look carefully, you can read the story that entranced the Troll – photographed by Saffia Widdershins

The team behind the LitFest consisted of Saffia Widdershins, Aoife Lorefield, Adele Ward, Gwen Enchanted, Fauve Aeon and Nathaniel Ballard. One designated roles are listed here – but we all tended to do bits here and there!

Fauve says, “A personal highlight was getting so many opportunities to do so much as a volunteer. Even though I came onboard later than the others,  I really feel like I got my Faire Wings under me and I am very excited for next year.”

St Megan, the protector of Trollhaugen (according to one legend) - photographed by Saffia Widdershins
St Megan, the protector of Trollhaugen (according to one legend) – photographed by Saffia Widdershins

We were based on Trollhaugen, designed by Beq Janus and Elizabeth Jarvinen. which we LOVED. As the Troll and his book took shape, and the village started to appear, our clearings and little writing spaces began to appear in the forests.

Trollhaugen - photograph by Saffia Widdershins
Trollhaugen – photograph by Saffia Widdershins

And the names began to emerge too … the village was clearly Trollhaugen itself; the original village that the Troll trampled was Leftfoot Village; intrepid explorers could find the ruins. And there was Bookfold Woods, Troll Knoll and Undertoe, where many of the morning poetry prompts took place. There was Undertroll Meadows where we danced.

Trollmouth, photographed by Gwen Enchanted
Trollmouth, photographed by Gwen Enchanted

Above all, there was Trollmouth, the main gathering place for the event, and the main gathering place for the villagers of Trollhaugen, who had carried an eccentric and eclectic collection of rugs, cushions, chairs, lamps and other assorted goodies to the vast cave that had once been a mouth.

A good job that the Troll had been petrified for hundreds of years!

Even the critters read in Trollhaugen!
Even the critters read in Trollhaugen!

 

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