Myriad Editions and the University of Sussex are programming an exciting series of events designed to celebrate and champion first novels, past and present. Weekend mini festivals and evening events are planned throughout the year, including literary salons for small audiences, speed-dates for new writers to meet agents and editors, and headline events with authors including Kate Mosse, Jackie Kay and Meg Rosoff.
Many thanks to our speakers, sponsors and everyone who supported the launch of First Fictions.
In a packed weekend of events, among those helping to celebrate first works were English professors-cum-novelists Elleke Boehmer, Adam Roberts, two Nicholas Royles and Andrew Pepper. Suzi Feay, Lizzie Enfield and winner of the Authors' Club Best First Novel Award, Jonathan Kemp, discussed Sex in Fiction, whilst Nye Wright sketched brilliantly from the sidelines.
Rebus-creator Ian Rankin talked to People's Book Prize winner Lesley Thomson, author of A Kind of Vanishing, about his writing and his unpublished first novel before joining Paul Gravett, Myriad's commissioning editor Corinne Pearlman and authors Hannah Berry, Ed Hillyer and Bryan Talbot to discuss each shortlisted work and – in a nail-biting conclusion – announce the winner of the first-ever First Graphic Novel Competition: many congratulations to Gareth Brookes for The Black Project.
Authors Sue Eckstein, Nicola Streeten and Aneurin Wright engaged a rapt audience with discussions of autobiographical influence and creativity across narrative fiction and graphic memoir in Life Writing; Bloomsbury's Alexandra Pringle discussed the nuts and bolts of publishing a first novel with her debut author, Selma Dabbagh; and Abi Curtis fascinated us with her research on squids in literature.
Quick Fictions started the weekend and the launch of the new journal, C21 Fiction, prompted toasts at the end. It was all exciting stuff and we'll be announcing more First Fictions' events shortly.