Back now? Isn't she good at explaining things? I'm lucky to know her.
I'm very excited by this series. The woman who wrote the grant that's paying for all this is a big LeGuin fan (naturally enough), but didn't know all that much about anybody else--apart from the Usual Crossover Suspects like Margaret Atwood and Lev Grossman. Now, thanks to the efforts of Ellen and her jolly crew of wise, scholarly, and well-connected friends, she (and the rest of the Center for Fiction folks) knows a whole lot more. And are impressed by what they've learned--as they well should be. Another nice side effect is that people are coming to these events who don't usually come to panels on fantasy, and are staying to talk afterwards and (more importantly) buy books.
We are, in fact, expanding our Fantastic Empire. Which can only be good.
Thursday's panel features cassandra_clare, blackholly, justinelavaworm, and Chris Moriarty, whose The Inquisitor's Apprentice is the best MG mystery/thriller/magical alt-historicals I've read. It's all about 19th C. New York and immigrants and bosses and crime and class, beautifully written and researched. Wears its authority lightly, too. I loved it lots. She talks well, too. They are a grand, grand team. And I get to