Monday, June 7, 2010


Today I'm working on a lecture I'll be giving in London next week, and just typing that sentence seems like an other-worldly out-of-body experience.

I've been invited to deliver a keynote speech at a conference titled "Graphic Medicine: Medical Narratives in Graphic Novels" to an audience I expect to consist of some medical professionals, some comics people, and goodness knows who else. It'll be a small conference--75 max--but I think it's the most important talk I've ever given and I'm working hard to get it right. I want the delegates and conference organizer Ian Williams, who's been terrific, to feel like they got their time and money's worth. I'm also looking forward to meeting another scheduled speaker, Paul Gravett, who's one of the smartest writers about comics in the business.

I've never been to London. Karen's coming along and we're taking the opportunity to extend our stay a couple of days to explore the great city. If I have time, I'll re-read my Boswell before taking off. Our girls have actually been there without us (they spent a month studying in the UK a couple of years ago) and have given us some expert travel tips. I understand it's one of the great walking cities in the world so that's how we plan to spend our time, along with the mandatory tourist stuff.

If Eyjafjallajokull cooperates, we expect to have a great trip. I'll let you know if we were right.


Jim O'Kane said...

Brian - awesome! Have fun.

For an item on the must-visit list, consider Kensington in NW London: Apollo X is in the British Science Museum. It's the only American spacecraft outside of America.

Anonymous said...

Brian, congratulations! A fun trip *and* a big honor at the same time! Looking forward to reading all about it.

nancy g.

Mike Lynch said...

I knew ya when, lad! Break a leg!

Cian said...

I’m a postgraduate student at Imperial College, London, doing an MSc in Science Communication. I will be attending the comics and medicine conference you are speaking at in London on Thursday 17th June.

I’m writing a dissertation entitled “Comics and Medicine: Sequential Art as a tool for Student, Patient and Carer Education”. As the title suggests, I will be examining the potential of comics as an educational resource for medical students and doctors; as well as patients and carers. To this end I hope to interview people from these groups, as well as medical comics creators, to gain some insight into the genre.

I read “Mom’s Cancer” with interest and I was wondering if you could spare 20 minutes for a short interview on the subject of comics and medicine while you are in London? I would be happy to meet at a time and place convenient to you.

Please let me know if and when you are happy to speak to me on this subject.

Yours sincerely,

Please email me at:

Anonymous said...

This is the group we used about 10 years ago for walking tours and they have added quite a few since we were there. The guides were knowledgable and entertaining. Enjoy.


Anonymous said...

Awesome town. Check out whats happening at Timeout/London. Get a tube pass in advance, available online. Rock out.

Jim O'Kane said...

Beyond Boswell, you might also want to re-peruse Alan Moore's "From Hell" for some strolling-around-London ideas. :)

Brian Fies said...

I appreciate the travel tips, will take them under advisement. I already know we won't have enough time to scratch the surface. We do plan to rely greatly on the Tube.

Cian, I contacted you privately. We'll work it out, for sure.

Jim, I wouldn't be surprised if someone were offering a "From Hell" tour. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if it was Alan Moore himself.

ronnie said...

This is so exciting! Take tons of pictures - then post them.

Break a leg indeed!

Mike Peterson said...

Don't worry about the talk. They wouldn't fly you all the way over there if they didn't want to hear whatever it is you've got to say.

Ronnie said...

This is so exciting! They will love you and you will love London.

Sherwood Harrington said...

I'm sure that what ronnie-with-a-lower-case-r meant to say was "Break a leg -- and then have Cian come up with a 4-panel sequential art treatment of the episode."

I'm pretty sure that Mike P. is right, but there might be some small possibility that your invitation is an instance of some Brit humour that I don't understand. Check for whopee cushions.

And, in case you haven't guessed, I am absolutely green with envy. Have a great trip!

Brian Fies said...

Oh, I'm not too worried about the talk. I enjoy public speaking and, as a guy named Pastis told me a long time ago, no one there will know more about my life and work than I do (except Karen, and I doubt she'd rat me out). In this one, tiny specialty, I am the world's foremost expert. I just want to do a good job.

It does look like we could get some rain. That won't slow us down.

Photos and stories to follow, I'm sure. Thanks again for the travel tips and good wishes!