Imagine how marvellous it would be if you were able to select every single glorious one of your favourite authors, and put them on a panel together, to discuss all the glorious bookish things?
Eventbrite have a really cool project all about planning your dream author panel, and I had to get involved and share my own! Because I probably spend an unhealthy amount of time dreaming about meeting every single one of my favourite authors, but putting them together in one big panel…now, that would be amazing!
My dream panel has two requirements: firstly that it is a fantasy panel, and secondly that some of its fantastical magic can be used to raise a couple of authors back from the dead. (It’s not too much to ask for is it?)
Maria V. Snyder:
Maria is the author of one of my favourite series of all time (the Study series). The first book, Poison Study, was one of the first YA novels I read after the hype of The Hunger Games had left me desperate for more of the YA fiction world. It was also one of the first fantasy books I read since Harry Potter. I think, because of those things, it has so clearly stuck with me, and I can completely picture the time I was reading it. I remember sitting on the bus back from a trip to town, after having started the book the night before, and being absolutely desperate to crawl back into my bed for the remainder of the day and devour the rest of it. Needless to say, I did, and it remains one of my two favourite books ever!
The second of my two favourite books ever is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. This is honestly the most magically immersive novel I have ever read. It’s one of the few books that I can re-read over and over and enjoy it just as much, if not more, each time. It just doesn’t lose its charm for me! It’s such a unique and wonderful story, and the most interesting setting I have ever read. Also, you are a character in the story too – which is the strangest but coolest experience when reading, especially in a fantasy!
A Darker Shade of Magic was the first of V.E. Schwab’s books that I read, and I rapidly consumed every one of her published works as soon as I closed that final page because WHAT A MAGICAL AND BRILLIANT BOOK! There’s multiple parallel Londons, a magical traveller who can inhabit each of these Londons, a female cross-dressing pirate, and a wonderfully sassy Prince. It’s fantastic! In terms of setting, I’d love to hear V.E. Schwab and Erin Morgenstern talk about their process and inspiration in creating such magical worlds.
Sarah. J. Maas:
Not only has Sarah written one of my favourite fantasy books, but she had written two of my favourite series: The Throne of Glass series, and the A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy. She is the queen of strong heroines and beautiful male fae characters. In fact, her fae remind me a lot of Tolkien’s elves in the Lord of the Rings…
…and I would love to hear the two of them have a conversation about their magical creatures; to talk about their similarities and differences. And you can’t very well have a fantasy author panel without Tolkien, can you?
My favourite books as a child were the Chronicles of Narnia (I’m pretty sure I’m not alone there!). I think C.S.Lewis is the author I would be most excited/scared/fangirling/terrifyingly nervous about meeting in real life, purely due to the impact his stories have had on me. I must have re-read those books five or six times in my childhood, and I have never re-read any book that many times since, let alone a whole series! And we can’t talk about favourite fantasy characters without discussing one of the greatest of them all: Aslan!
When I picked these authors, they were the ones that came into my head straight away when I thought of ‘favourites’. But, interestingly, I noticed that all of my favourite, current fantasy authors are female, while my favourite, classic fantasy authors are male. I wonder if this has become a trend, or whether I simply gravitate more towards female authors within this genre. Perhaps it also has something to do with advertising and publicity. I find far more fantasy novels popping up on my Instagram, Twitter and blog feeds by female authors (by white female authors too!) than by male authors, in the YA genre. Again, this may be due to the sorts of places I look for books, but it is, regardless, interesting to think about.
I wonder, if these authors really did have a panel (by some magic!), whether gender might come up as a topic. The views of Tolkien and Lewis on the current trend of strong female protagonists dominating YA fantasy today, would be fascinating to listen to!
I would be really interested to know which authors you would put in your dream panel, and whether we share any!
Thank you to Eventbrite for this cool blog post idea! And if you are looking for a resource to plan/find conferences in your local area, definitely check out their conference management page.