Tolkien, Acid Fantasy And The University Of Oxford

Very pleased by the brilliant reception from academics and students to my lecture about fantasy at the University of Oxford.  Somehow I managed to pack in the influence of Tolkien (good and bad), Acid Fantasy, the important move towards diversity in both writers and story matter, gay Dumbledore, the abundance of medieval secondary world fantasy and why it’s not good for the wider genre, George R R Martin sobbing in his wine cellar, the writing process, why populist politicians must love Weird Tales heroes, and why fantasy is really about reality…while quoting Oscar Wilde, China Mieville, Alan Moore and an old song by The Jam.

Yes, it was a mad ride, but the learned audience was very gracious.

It was a hectic day, involving a dash up the M40 from London, and back immediately after the talk, so I could fit in work on the new James Wilde novel and some screenwriting business on a project that’s now in development.

A shame I couldn’t stay longer, because the programme for the three-day Here Be Dragons event was phenomenal.  It was organised by Dr Stuart Lee, who informed the audience that we first met in a BBC TV make-up room.

On the agenda were talks on Morgan Le Fay and Merlin, and Arthurian Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Shakespeare to the Gothic, H P Lovecraft, Susan Cooper, Ursula Le Guin, George R R Martin and Game of Thrones, Dianne Wynn Jones, Philip Pullman, J K Rowling and more.

Here Be Dragons

Artist: Minjie Su

Later this year, I’ll be speaking at Here Be Dragons: The Oxford Fantasy Literature Summer School organised by the English Faculty at the University of Oxford.

My talk is all about writing fantasy, but if that doesn’t grab you, you can also hear about M R James, H P Lovecraft, C S Lewis, Tolkien, Arthurian fantasy, George R R Martin, J K Rowling, Diana Wynne-Jones and Philip Pullman. And much more across three full days.

It runs from September 11 – 13, and you can book a place here.