First up, THIS:
At the end of July, I'll be menacing the attendees of YALC, the 3 day extravaganza at London Film and Comic Con focused entirely on YA lit.
Full programme details tbc, but you can buy tickets and find out more here.
Yesterday, I voted in the final round of the French presidential elections (as I had in round 1 a couple of weeks previously). As a passport-carrying member of two nations currently undergoing some fairly seismic upheaval (for relatively secure first world countries), I got the joy of undergoing not only the attempt to stem the new wave fascist Le Pen, but also the Brexit vote (guess which way I voted), and participating in the upcoming UK elections on June 8th.
What I have learned from the past year or so, from Brexit to Trump to listening to the audiobook of Sapiens, is this: human beings' ability to cooperate in astronomically huge numbers for our beliefs is the thing that sets us apart from all other species. Storytelling is hardwired into us, whether it's stories about gods or ourselves. Stories don't exist, biologically speaking. They are intangible creations of ours. The universe does not recognise justice, or evil, or the greater good. These things are not factored into its systems. But they are factored into ours.
So tell the good stories. Tell the ones that progress us. The ones that slow our self-destruction and feed our impulse to reach further than our biology deems necessary. You don't have to be a writer to tell stories - we all do it every day. Voting tells a story, the story that you want for your own country. Your voice, online and off, tells a story. Propagate the ideas you think are important. Vote.
UK people - if you haven't registered to vote, you have until May 22nd. Here's how.