CHESTERMERE – Due to the hard work and dedication of the Chestermere Public Library’s director, Gemma Noon, the community of Chestermere will host the Black Library Expo this October.
The Black Library, which is a division of Games Workshop, is a group that publishes fantasy and science fiction novels that are based on the miniature tabletop wargame, Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000.
The Black Library publishes an array of authors, some of who are New York Times best sellers. Eight of these authors will be in Chestermere this October, and it will be the first time they have ever done an expo anywhere besides the UK.
Noon, who is originally from the UK, has been a fan of the game and the books for many years, and said that the whole thing came together simply because she asked.
“Everyone I’ve spoken to locally who is interested in this event has asked how I pulled it off,” she said. “The simple truth is that I asked them, and no one else did.”
Noon said that she dropped a few e-mails to a couple of the authors that she knows personally, and it grew from there. The confirmed authors are Dan Abnett, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Graham McNeill, James Swallow, Nick Kyme, Chris Wraight, Gav Thorpe, and Andy Smillie. Noon said that each one is worth a Google search, as they have all published amazing work.
The authors will be in Chestermere on Oct. 6 and 7 to sign books, pose for photographs and answer fan questions.There will be seminars, question and answer sessions, and even a cosplay contest.
Noon said that the expo will also be a good opportunity for fans to simply meet and mingle, as there aren’t many opportunities to do so, and the fan following is fairly underground in Canada.
“So far the reaction from the Albertan gaming community alone has been really positive,” she said. “We haven’t even really officially announced it or advertised it at all and I have had 300 people express interest.
“We figure once we start, tickets will go really fast, because people will come from all over the place.”
Only 1,000 tickets will be printed – 500 for Saturday, and 500 for Sunday. Noon said that there is a possibility that they could open up a third day, the holiday Monday, if there is overwhelming interest.
“(The authors) know there is a huge gaming community here,” Noon said. “They are aware that they haven’t ever really tapped into this market, and are excited to be able to visit here and meet the fans.
“To put the scale of this event into perspective, this is the first time that more than three of the authors will be in the same place, at the same time, outside of the UK.
“Chestermere has the North American exclusive on this. We have first refusal of any other event, and they won’t hold anything like this Canada or the US for 12 months, and again, it’s all because I asked. The worst that could have happened was that they’d have said no.”
Noon said that she understands that this kind of expo is a bit out of the ordinary for Chestermere, but that the game and novels are something to be appreciated.
“It’s one of those things where if you’re not into it, it’s a bit scary and weird looking,” she said. “But if you take the time and trouble to learn about it, it’s really worthwhile. There’s a lot of deep and thought-provoking work behind it. I’m a total fan.”
Tickets for the expo will go on sale next month and are only available through www.chestermerepubliclibrary.com/blacklibraryexpo or directly from Chestermere Public Library.
More info about the expo will be provided online and in the Anchor prior to the event.
For more info about the Black Library, go to www.blacklibrary.com.