March 7 marks the 2015 Toronto SpecFic Colloquium. This yearly event is really significant to me because it was my introduction to the Toronto genre community. Prior to moving to Toronto I’d lived most of my life in Hamilton, London or (later) China. I’d seen commercials on television for Toronto Trek when I was a kid, but was never able to persuade my parents to take me.
And London doesn’t host cons. As a result, even as I began working on my craft, and as I burned through basically the entirety of the London Public Library‘s genre collection, I didn’t know many other genre fans.
When the collapse of 2008 left me without work and with dismal prospects in London, Pam and I decided to take a risk and move to Toronto. We managed to get ourselves established and were relaxing into our life in the big city right around the time the first SpecFic colloquium was getting off the ground.
I googled “Speculative Fiction Events Toronto” one day on a lark, and registered for the colloquium immediately.
It was amazing. And it opened my world to the people who made up the Toronto genre community. Through the wonderful people I met I learned about readings and conventions. I got a chance to meet and socialize with other fans, other authors. This, in turn, let me meet the people with whom I eventually formed a critique group, and eventually, my editor.
I’ve always felt like I owed a bit of a debt to the SpecFic colloquium. Some years I’ve volunteered, manning the registration table or helping set up. Other years I’ve just attended, happy to have a chance to listen to some truly exceptional authors, editors and critics discuss issues of relevance to the genre community.
The guest of honour at this year’s colloquium is the World Fantasy Award winning author, Nnedi Okorafor, and her participation helps to indicate just how amazing the programming is for this event.
The 2015 SpecFic colloquium also represents another first for me – as it’s the first event I’ve been invited to speak at. I’m incredibly humbled to be included in the company of many authors who I’ve looked up to for the last half-decade, as I’ve learned about this amazing community: people I’ve considered role models and occasional mentors.
I really hope you will join me for this exceptional day. Tickets are available online. See you on March 7.