Many things have had to change this year and book festivals up and down the country are embracing the technological world to ensure the ‘show must go on’. Cymera, the UK’s only horror, fantasy and sci-fi writing festival, is one of them.

I was delighted to be involved in this new approach to festival event chairing. Gone were the pre-event green room chats replaced with an introductory wave at my camera, a quick hello and introduction of the panel and the red Button of Destiny confirmed we were live and recording!

As those who know me will confirm, I quite like a blether about books, especially books that keep me awake into the wee small hours just to read one more page/chapter. I was determined to make a digital event just as welcoming and interesting as the in-person events the previous year at Cymera’s home at The Pleasance, Edinburgh.

First up, young adult novels based on cryogenics and futuristic child-prisons were brought to life by the amazing Kathryn Evans and Ben Oliver. You can watch the event here.

Beauty Sleep by Kathryn Evans takes school life into the cryogenics world. Brilliant twists and turns as Laura tries to remember who she is and why has the world moved on 40 years!

Twitter: Kathryn Evans

17 year-old Luka Kane will die in The Loop. Under the scrutiny of the A.I. that control his every waking moment, he must escape if he is to survive another day. A tense, unforgiving world, the reader is immersed in his plight from the first page.

Twitter: Ben Oliver

Thrown into the world of faeries, alternate realms and unfathomable worlds, I was enthralled by the fantasy novels written by my second panel Francesca Noto, Holly Race and Elizabeth Priest. You can watch the event here.

Sons of Storm tells the story of Nathaniel and Winter, two boys who could not be more different. Transported to another world they will need all their powers, and the special bond developing between them, to survive and find a way back home.

Twitter: Francesca Noto

Midnight Twins – London but not as we know it. Fifteen-year-old Fern is drawn into Annwn, a dream mirror of our world, a place where your nightmares are the least of your worries.

Twitter: Holly Race

When you should be preparing for your exams but your teenage destiny is to fight the goblins, demons and faeries that seem to be roaming your world! Concrete Faery is a fantastic introduction to Elizabeth Priest’s Troutespond series.

Twitter: Elizabeth Priest

Cymera will be back in 2021! In which format, who knows at the moment, but if you can, please support your local festivals so that they can continue to promote local (and not so local) creatives.

Until such a time we can meet again in person…