Clarion South 2007 (which now runs biennially, so there's no CS 2006) has announced its line-up of tutors. Now, I know I'm biased and all, but I don't think you could beat the 2005 line-up (don't believe me? one of my tutors posts pictures of cats and bathroom tiles. What more could you want from a tutor? Really?)
Still. Gardner Dozois. Kelly Link. Can you repeat Clarion? Can you? Can you? Please?
In other news, Neil Gaiman notes something of the Australian psyche:
I definitely got the sense when I was out there last time that Australia was a bit behind the US and the UK in its understanding and acceptance of fantasy (despite having several of the best fantasists and fabulists currently writing out there)
In Neil's case this arose because of a review in Melbourne's The Age, which starts with an apology for the entire concept of genre fiction:
THERE is a problem with "genre". All enveloping terms such as crime or science fiction are anathema to many. They're not serious fiction. Regardless of the grudging acceptance by the literary world of James Ellroy or William Gibson, commercial classification remains a stigma.
The worst one of all is that horrific appellation fantasy, a world definitely for dweebs or, at best, "young adults".
Sadly, this is the realm that Neil Gaiman finds himself in again and again.
Note in particular the last line I've quoted, as if in writing fantasy Gaiman is aiming for worthier ideals but can't quite climb out of the slums. The review is by Ashley Crawford and, not being a regular consumer of The Age I don't have any knowledge of his (her?) style or tastes. But the review, although positive, does smack of a distaste for genre fiction.
Is there a lack of acceptance by "mainstream" audiences in Australia? Are we behind the UK and the US in accepting genre fiction? Could population base have some bearing on this?
I'm undecided. On the one hand, just last night I met a friend's wife for the first time, and we were discussing my writing. She explained very apologetically that she didn't read fiction (she prefers historical non-fiction), but then said, "But your book isn't really fantasy, is it? It didn't read like fantasy to me." Now, the main character of this book is an angel with black wings — 'nuff said?