I'm in Riverside, California, where there are oranges and clementines on the trees. In February. The Eaton Science Fiction Conference wrapped up last night, with lifetime achievement awards given to Harlan Ellison and to Samuel R. Delany, and student fiction writing awards to a number of people whose names and stories I will have to find. Their work sounds fascinating. It was a really well organized conference, and there were a number of excellent papers.
One thing I didn't expect is that on the second day of this two-day conference, there were eight people scheduled to give papers on my work. Eight! Two of them had had to cancel their attendance, but that still left six. I confess I got a kick out of attending all of them. People who are presenting papers they've written on my work tend to blanch when I enter the room. But I'm honestly not there to try to prove anyone "wrong." Half the time, writing is an intuitive process for me. Hearing what other people have discerned in my work helps me to figure out how to be a better writer. My thanks to those people for their generosity.
And I have news. I've been keeping it quiet for the past four months, but since Dean Stephen Cullenberg announced it at the final event of the conference, I guess I can, too; beginning in fall 2011, I'm going to be an Associate Professor specializing in science fiction and fantasy in the Creative Writing Department of the University of California Riverside. They actually offered me the position in 2009, then had to put the offer on hold because of budget cuts. But it seems to be a go this time. I'm very excited about it. The professorship is set up in such a way that I'll have lots of time to write. The current plan is to split my time between Toronto and the Riverside/Los Angeles area.L to R; Rob Latham, Nalo Hopkinson, Karen Tei Yamashita, Istvan Csicsery-Ronay Jr., China Miéville.
And now I'm going to go take a walk under the orange trees before I return to the chilly charms of Toronto in February. Does all of Riverside smell faintly of eucalyptus, or is it only the area around the Mission Inn?