AsylumFest 2023

AsylumFest 2023

Another year, another road trip to beautiful Beechworth Asylum with notorious Canberra hoodlums Kaaron Warren, Aaron Dries, Robert Hood, Cat Sparks.

Raved about Shirley Jackson and Daphne du Maurier on a panel on the modern gothic, with Kyla Lee Ward, Kellie Beat and Paul Sheldon. Hosted the Australian Shadows Awards with Let The Cat In co-hosts Kaaron Warren and Aaron Dries – with much celebration to follow when Aaron won best short story for little Balloons (my personal favourite from his killer collection, Cut To Care). MC’d the Mayday Hills Ghost Story Competition, and subjected the captive audience to a reading of The Whatnot Shop. And in between it all, chatting to readers, selling books, shooting the proverbial with the many excellent guests. 

Check out photos of the weekend courtesy of the inestimable Cat Sparks (from whom these pictures were lovingly stolen).

J. Ashley-Smith, Cat Sparks, Kaaron Warren, Robert Hood and Aaron Dries in a really big car on the way to Beechworth
Inside the haunted asylum at Beechworth, book tables and punters
Paul Sheldon and Kellie Beat on the Modern Goth Panel
Robert Hood and J. Ashley-Smith at the book tables
Kaaron Warren and J. Ashley-Smith at breakfast
Kellie Beat and J. Ashley-Smith on the Modern Gothic panel
J. Ashley-Smith, Kaaron Warren and Adrian Collins
J. Ashley-Smith and Jason Nahrung at the pub
Conflux 17

Conflux 17

Absolutely knackered after an immense weekend at Conflux 17. Remind me next year not to sign up for so much stuff! Earlier in the year, I pitched a whole bunch of panels, expecting one or two of them to get up – only they all did, and I ended up moderating most of them. Not mention hosting a fantastic (from my perspective, at least) workshop on utilising our own direct experience to enliven our stories. All of it great fun, of course, but too much… too much! Caught glimpses throughout the weekend of good friends heading off to this and that, with barely a moment to stop and hang. Next year it’ll be nothing but BarCon for me… come find me for a natter over a cup of tea.
I was such a ship in the night that Cat Sparks only managed to catch this one photo of me all weekend, pictured here hanging with script guru, Josh Koske. Check out the rest of Cat’s pics here.
Highlights of the weekend included sipping whisky with the immortal Ellen Datlow; Kaaron Warren and Ellen in conversation, an extended show and tell of all the extraordinary objects in Ellen’s apartment; Helen Marshall reading The Embalmer, from The Goldleaf Executions; and Let The Cat In co-hosts Kaaron Warren and Aaron Dries winning all the Ditmar Awards – go Catz!
AsylumFest 2022

AsylumFest 2022

So we went on a road trip—Kaaron Warren, Aaron Dries, Robert Hood, Cat Sparks and I—to Beechworth Asylum and the inaugural AsylumFest. Spent an excellent weekend hanging with friends old and new, spoke with ghosts on a paranormal tour, recorded two live shows of Let The Cat In, sold books, bought books, and generally had a banger of a weekend. Already looking forward to AsylumFest 2023!

Check out photos of the weekend courtesy of the inestimable Cat Sparks (from whom the picture here is lovingly stolen).