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Fantasycon 2024 Guest of Honour

The British Fantasy Society is thrilled to announce the first Guest of Honour for Fantasycon 2024, award winning fantasy novelist, Stephen Aryan.

Stephen Aryan was born in Iran in 1977 and raised in Whitley Bay, on the north east coast of the UK. He has been reading fantasy since a very young age. It started with books by David Eddings, Tolkien, C.S Lewis, Terry Brooks, Ursula le Guin, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman and later David Gemmell, who had a huge influence on his work.

A dark haired man wearing glasses and a black shirt looks towards the camera, smiling.

After graduating university in 1999 he started working in marketing. Around this time he also started submitting his first fantasy novel to agents.

In 2013, he submitted his latest novel, Battlemage, to Juliet Mushens. It took Stephen a long time and many struggles to get this far. You can read the full story on a two part blog he wrote called How I Found an Agent Part 1and How I Found an Agent Part 2.

In 2014, Battlemage, was snatched up by Orbit books and subsequently published in 2015. It went on to be published in France, Germany and Russia and was a finalist for the David Gemmell Morningstar Award for best debut fantasy novel. Battlemage went on to win the inaugural Hellfest Inferno Award in France after a public vote. The sequels, Bloodmage, and Chaosmage were both published in 2016, completing the Age of Darkness trilogy.

In 2017 he published Mageborn, the first in a new trilogy, the Age of Dread, with Orbit books. This followed on from his first trilogy, with the return of fan-favourite characters and many new faces. The sequels, Magefall and Magebane were published in 2018 and 2019 respectively, wrapping up his second trilogy.

In 2018 he also published Of Gods and Men with Orbit, a digital and audio novella which served as a prequel to Battlemage.

In 2020 Stephen was picked up for a new duology by Angry Robot Books. The story is set in a brand new world. The first novel, The Coward, was published in June 2021 and it received a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly. The sequel, The Warrior, was published in August 2022.

In 2022, Angry Robot signed The Judas Blossom, the first instalment in a Persian inspired fantasy trilogy, from Stephen has been described as an “imaginative and sprawling reimagining of the Mongol Empire’s invasion of Persia” following the lives of four characters at the centre of the war. It is an examination of Persian culture, family and war in a stunning, immersive world. Book 2, The Blood Dimmed Tide is available for pre-order now.

A red book cover with Persian-inspired artwork. Text reads 'The Blood Dimmed Tide' by Stephen Aryan.

Stephen lives in the West Midlands with his partner and two cats. When he’s not writing novels or podcasting, he can be found drinking real ale, reading books or watching TV.

Fantasycon will be at the Queen at Chester Hotel, Chester, from the 11th-13th October 2024. Join us there for a fun-filled weekend of panels, readings, workshops, the British Fantasy Awards, the BFS AGM, and of course, the eagerly anticipated karaoke! Tickets can be booked here. We can’t wait to see you there. Stay tuned for more Guest of Honour announcements over the coming weeks.

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