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BFS Online: Inspiration – History & Current Affairs

Does life imitate art or is it the other way around? How do historical events and the world we live in influence the stories we tell?

Moderator Lauren McMenemy chats to Mary Robinette Kowal, Benjamin Langley and Olivia Atwater about how books can be a lens to view the human (or not) experience. Find out more about our panel below.

Mary Robinette Kowal: Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of The Spare Man, The Glamourist Histories series, Ghost Talkers, and the Lady Astronaut Universe. She is part of the award-winning podcast Writing Excuses and has received the Astounding Award for Best New Writer, four Hugo awards, the Nebula and Locus awards. Her stories appear in Asimov’sUncanny, and several Year’s Best anthologies. Mary Robinette, a professional puppeteer, also performs as a voice actor (SAG/AFTRA), recording fiction for authors including Seanan McGuire, Cory Doctorow, and John Scalzi. She lives in Nashville with her husband Rob and over a dozen manual typewriters. You can find out more about Mary Robinette on her website. You can also follow her on Instagram or Bluesky. More about her talking cat here and buy some lovely books here.

Benjamin Langley: Benjamin Langley is a writer of quiet horror with a creeping dread and noydycaltrrnative histories. You can find more details about Benjamin and check out his books at his website. He can also be found on Twitter and Instagram. You can buy Benjamin’s books here.

Olivia Atwater: Olivia Atwater writes whimsical historical fantasy with a hint of satire. She lives in Montreal, Quebec with her fantastic, prose-inspiring husband and her two cats. When she told her second-grade history teacher that she wanted to work with history someday, she is fairly certain this isn’t what either party had in mind. She has been, at various times, a historical re-enactor, a professional witch at a metaphysical supply store, a web developer, and a vending machine repairperson. For more information on Olivia, check out her website. She also has a Patreon. You can also keep up-to-date with Olivia on Instagram, Facebook and Bluesky. Treat yourself to Olivia’s books here.

Lauren (LJ) McMenemy: Lauren McMenemy wears many hats: Editor-in-Chief at Trembling With Fear for horrortree.com; PR and marketing for the British Fantasy Society; founder of the Society of Ink Slingers; curator of the Writing the Occult virtual events. With 25+ years as a professional writer across journalism, marketing, and communications, Lauren also works as a coach and mentor to writers looking to achieve goals, get accountability, or get support with their marketing efforts. She writes gothic and folk horror stories for her own amusement, and is currently working on a novel set in the world of the Victorian occult. You’ll find Lauren haunting south London, where she lives with her Doctor Who-obsessed husband, the ghost of their aged black house rabbit, and the entity that lives in the walls. Learn more about Lauren on her website. Or this website. She’s also a social media queen. Find her on Twitter, Instagram, Instagram (Society of Ink Slingers), Bluesky, Threads or Mastodon. Whatever your social media pleasure, Lauren has you covered.

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