The Tribe of Horror

By 29th March 2010Uncategorised


The very thought of organising an event of this magnitude and complexity makes my chest go tight, but I doubt I will ever attend a better run convention, with a more varied range of quality content, a greater assemblage of talent, or with a more attentive staff. And the curatorial excellence of the convention’s publications edited by Steve Jones and Michael Marshall, and co-published by PS Publishing, still have me in awe.

In no particular order, these are some of my personal highlights from a splendid weekend by the sea…

The opportunistic buying of books from authors and editors in communal areas; chiefly Barbara Roden’s Northwest Passages and Ellen Datlow’s Best New Horror

Hearing Denis Etchison and Kim Newman’s hilarious anecdotes, including tales that encompassed talking pigs, Mad Magazine, wrestling, typewriters without letters on keys, and childhood cinema excursions. I realised laughter is also a reasonable cure for a hangover …

My publisher sponsoring the event’s stick-of-rock, and meeting another member of Pan’s people …

Attending a panel about screenplay writing, in which Stephen Volk, Denis Etchison and David Pirie gave accounts of the passion, heartbreak, despair involved in writing for TV and film, as well as choice episodes of Kafkaesque comedy. Priceless, and I genuinely learned a thing or two …

Defining horror with Conrad Williams, Mark Morris, Paul Cornell, and Steve Lockley on Gail-Nina Anderson’s thorough and insightful panel …

Listening to the mighty Neil Gaiman interview the mighty James Herbert …

Listening to the wit, wisdom, and the encyclopaedic knowledge of a panel of legendary anthologists and writers: Ramsey Campbell, Mike Ashley, Robert S. Knowlton, Michel Parry, David A. Sutton, Hugh Lamb. What a lineup!

Seeing Robert Lloyd Parry’s sublime one man performance of M R James’s A Warning to the Curious …

Meeting new horror writers Jasper Kent and Tom Fletcher for the first time …

Chatting with John Berlyne and Stéphane Marsen, Pete and Nicki Crowther, Les and Val Edwards, Ramsey and Jenny Campbell, which is always a real pleasure; not to forget the privilege of talking with Steve Erikson about craft …

Dining with Mathew Riley, Shaun Hamilton, John Jarrold, Joseph D ‘Lacey and Anne P, before turning my entire body into a propane tank after eating a spicy deep sea bass and washing it down with marmalade flavoured pale ale. What was I thinking?

Hanging out with my former colleague Donna Condon of Piatkus, plus seeing friends and writing retreat buddies Mark Morris, Sarah Pinborough, Tim Lebbon, Steve Lockley …

Seeing so many publishing professionals from Gollancz, Quercus, Transworld, Angry Robot, Rebellion, PS Publishing, Pan Macmillan, Piatkus at the event – I’ve not seen a publishing turnout like this at a convention before …

Seeing two paintings by Les Edwards – Forebodings and The Atkinson Revenant – which have swiftly entered my all time favourite works of art …

Blithely booking a table in Harry Ramsden’s fish and chip restaurant to discover three of the party don’t eat fish (and dreading being responsible for someone’s prophylactic shock)…

Reading from my new novel for the first time in public …

A languorous afternoon of real ale and chat with Joseph D ‘Lacey, Mathew Riley and Anne P …

A real sense of there being something significant and positive afoot in British horror: British writers Gary McMahon and Tim Lebbon have secured new deals with mass market publishers for horror novels; Sarah Pinborough, Jasper Kent and Tom Fletcher’s new novels were published the week of the event; whilst Jonny Mains has revived the Pan Book of Horror …

Hearing gulls and smelling the sea …

Jotting all of this down, I’m reminded of why I will always remain a proud member of the tribe of horror. A big thanks to the organisers and all involved in the running of the WHC 2010 Brighton Shock Convention.

To all those who keep the shuddering alive in Britain, I salute you …

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  • Mark M says:

    Brilliant to see you there, Adam – but as ever, we didn't get enough time to chat. Must arrange a proper get together next time I'm in London. See you soon, buddy.

  • Feelings mutual,Mark. It was such a banquet of good people and great events, I wanted to be in three different places constantly, so apologies for being so flibbertigibbet. I pretty much dispensed with sleep too. Would be good to see you down here soon.

  • Hagelrat says:

    Fantastic weekend, thanks for sharing your experience of it. 🙂

  • The Doctor says:

    Oh, if I only I weren't located on the other side of the world. Sounds like a great event. One day…
    Until then, stay scary 🙂

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