Where can you find three 2019 GCLS finalists, three Emmas, two Kits, a metric ton of wool in the shape of cute animals, two amazing audiobook narrators, a best-seller of Amazonian proportions (seriously, Kiki Archer IS that tall), and a whole host of fabulous authors all under one roof?
For those who don’t know, Crawley is the spectacular metropolis next to Gatwick Airport. It has restaurants, shops, hotels, multiplex cinemas, office blocks, and a horticultural society who happen to have a hall to rent to a group of sapphic authors.
Okay, so it wasn’t the most glamorous of locations, but that didn’t matter. We brought the sparkle.
Organised by GCLS finalist, Claire Highton-Stevenson, the South Coast Lesfic Hang Out was amazing. Authors from across the UK (and Europe!) piled into the venue, setting up tables with books, merch, sweets, crochet, gummy boobs, chocolate, art, and more.
Throughout the day, authors hopped up on stage and gave readings of their work. Some gave readings of other author’s work in exchange for muffins. Readers travelled from far and wide (Kingston and Finland) to chat with authors in a casual environment, eat cake, buy books, and have previously purchased books signed.
TJ Richards and Jessica Jeffries were on hand to talk about audiobooks from a technical perspective, Beni Pardy joined us from the Lesbian Audiobook group on Facebook to talk about audiobooks from a listener perspective.
A team of volunteers were on hand to provide drinks and snacks, mainly cakes. Lots of cake was consumed. Like, a lot. But the proceeds went to charity so every single slice of that cake was complete calorie free. Perfect.
In all seriousness, this was an amazing event with some great people in attendance. I spoke to some readers who were visibly moved at being able to find a safe space where they could come and be themselves, surrounded by other likeminded people, and talk about life, love, and books.
The South Coast Lesfic Hang Out was hopefully the first of many events, it was accessible, friendly, fun, and free. I’ll be attending any future event I can, and I hope to see you there in the future.