It's Kelley's birthday. We have a magnificent Bordeaux awaiting our attention...
I've been hearing about colleges in the US and UK that are teaching Hild from a variety of perspectives: history of English, gender and history, landscape history, and so on. This pleases me enormously.
I'm a big fan of what in the corporate world are called communities of practice, so if you're teaching Hild please let me know, and if you like I can two things:
Tickets are on sale for two of the UK events, Ilkley and Stockton. The others are free. But the one to pay attention to right now is the Ilkley Literature Festival. They've almost sold out my event already, so if you want to be there, go plunk down your £6 now (£4 for some).
On Tuesday, 23rd of September, Kelley and I will be at Seattle's Project Room to talk to Joshua Wolf Shenk, author of Powers of Two, about what it's like to work as creative partners. (We're both quoted in the book.)
Real Change is a street paper that focuses on poverty, homelessness, and social justice. It's also a social justice organisation that gives a voice to and provides opportunity for low-income and homeless people.
I did an interview with them. It's a bit looser than usual: I'm sugared up and highly caffeinated and just let rip. Normally, when someone asks me how Hild changed the world I slip the question. This time I slipped the leash, went for it, and ended up getting a bit, er, grandiose. You'll be pleased to know that without Hild we wouldn't have democracy as we know it...
I'm delighted to announce that Hild is one of the five finalists for the Washington State Book Award. The winners will be announced the evening of Friday October 10, 7:00 pm, at the Microsoft Auditorium at the central library, at 7 pm. Tickets are free, and there's a reception and book signing afterwards upstairs in the Central Library Living Room, complete with music by Seattle7Writers rock band.
The full nominee list, plus nominees for the two children's awards:
I'm on the cover of this month's Locus magazine. I've been on it before—eighteen years ago*. It occurred to me that you might like to see how I looked then.
|Taken aboard the Queen Mary, Long Beach, at the Nebula Awards weekend, 1996|
You've probably noticed that I've been quieter than usual for the last few months. I've been dealing with health issues.
Two main things: my vision and my MS.
My vision problems have nothing to do with MS and everything to do with being what my surgeon cheerily refers to as a "high myope." High myopia is defined as -6.00 dioptres or more. My most recent prescription isn't far off three times that; I'm a super mega-high myope. One of the problems associated with high myopia is posterior subcapsular cataracts (age-related cataracts are more usually nuclear). My vision is no longer wholly correctable with glasses or contact lenses. In fact, even without the cataracts it was getting dicy: most contact lens manufacturers don't make them in my prescription; those that did charged about $800 a year (which usually ended up being closer to a thousand when you factor in damage and loss—you lose a lot of contact lenses when you can't see...).
Not being able to see sucks but not being able to see when you walk with crutches is dangerous. So I made the decision to have surgery: total lens replacement in both eyes. I now have accommodative intra-ocular lenses and I'm busy teaching myself to read again. Well, I will be, when I've healed. I've only just (Tuesday) had the second eye done. And according to the surgeon it can take three to six months to get your best vision.
Right this minute I can see...everything. Distance brilliantly with one eye, up-close fabulously with the other. Mid-range pretty damn good with both. But the seeing is intermittent. The post-operative inflammation plus the various drops (two anti-inflammatory, one antibiotic) I have to take four times a day for the next few weeks make everything look smeared with vaseline. Or maybe that's the actual vaseline in the ointment I also have to use. But, bloody hell, I had no idea the world was so bright! Colours are really different; who knew I'd been seeing the world through a yellowish filter for most of my life?
For fellow high myopes: if you can afford it, do it. It will change your life. Three caveats, though.
I'll be in the UK from October 1 to 10 to do Hild-ish things.
In the north I'll be doing events for two libraries and a literature festival:
Every now and again I come across a project I really want to support. Here's one: Accessing the Future, an SF anthology exploring disability and how it intersects with other factors, edited by Kathryn Allan and Djibril al-Ayad.
Disability—and those other factors—is something that concerns me deeply.1
Kathryn and Djibril are raising money at Indiegogo. They need your help. I hope you'll get behind and push. Meanwhile, here's Djibril to tell you a bit more about their goals (note: the footnotes are mine).
I've pointed readers before to this international list of independent bookstores. Now I've finally got around to a UK-specific list.
These are booksellers in the UK, including mini-chains, where you should either be able to find Hild or they'll order it for you. (I'm assuming you all know where your local Waterstones is: they'll order the book, too.) The organisation is a little eccentric (especially the London section). I decided not to break things up by country or county, just alphabetically by city. Theh links are eccentric, too: some bookshops seem to have been taken over by a mini-chain but not changed their URL—assuming they'd bothered with a website in the first place (I've had to resort to Twitter and Facebook links here and there).
There are some lovely-looking bookshops here. No doubt I could add more. This list is far from complete: a mix of info from friends, readers, and my publisher. I'm relying on you to help me fill in gaps. What's your favourite bookshop in the UK?
Two more blog tour things:
|In black and white for change because change is good...|
I've just posted a long piece over at my research blog about Anglo-Saxon origin stories.
It was a real challenge to write one particular scene in Hild because I had to allow her to believe something that today we don't think is true. But to be true to the experiment I'd set myself—to find out who Hild really was by recreating the seventh century as she would have known it and then growing her inside—I had to let her believe it and behave according.
The Yffings told themselves a story of how and when they came to England. In my blog post I point out all the ways in which this story isn't true. Hild will figure this out in Book Two...