At last I feel well enough to embark on a round-up of my CrimeFest experience-yes, slightly later than planned- and having been entertained by some amazing articles by other bloggers and authors (links below) which are well worth checking out. I shall endeavour to keep it brief as I attended 20 panels/interviews and don’t want to bore you all to death with every detail, but here are my highlights…
SOME TOP PANELS :
WHO IS EVERYMAN AND WHAT IS HE DOING IN MY THRILLER- Chris Ewan (moderator) Simon Toyne, Simon Kernick, Louise Millar, Michael Ridpath. An extremely interesting discussion on the role of instinct vs rationality in the realm of crime fiction characterisation, and how ‘ordinary’ protagonists can be imbued with the ability to act in extraordinary ways when they or their nearest or dearest are under threat. Best line- Simon Toyne on decamping to France to write- “ I didn’t want to sit in my spare room in my pants for six months trying to write a book”- no indeed not…
DEATH OVERSEAS– Stav Sherez (moderator) Thomas Enger (Norway) Valerio Varesi (Italy) Yrsa Sigurdardottir (Iceland) K. O. Dahl (Norway) The role of psychogeography in crime fiction and how location directly affects the language and events related to that particular environment. What was particularly interesting was Dahl’s revelation of having been a taxi driver in Oslo, and how what he witnessed as the all seeing but largely ignored part of people’s everyday lives gave him an unique perspective on Oslo and its inhabitants. On a similar theme I also enjoyed UNDERBELLY- THE GRITTY SIDE OF THE STREET– Craig Robertson (moderator), William McIlvanney, Antonin Varenne, Tim Weaver, Michael Sears which explored similar themes of violence in major cities with a brilliant unfolding of murder statistics that took on an almost competitive edge as to whose city was the most violent! And likewise another exploration of the city in MAJOR CITIES, MAJOR CRIMES- William Ryan (moderator) Barbara Nadel, David Jackson, K. O.Dahl, Pierre Lemaitre, in which the wonderfully ebullient Lemaitre described with some gusto how he channels his natural rage at the world into violently despatching people in his books.
SERIAL KILLERS- WHY DO WE LOVE THEM– Caro Ramsay (moderator) Matt Hilton, Xavier-Marie Bonnot, David Mark, Steven Dunne. A discussion around the hypothesis that serial killers are not the epitome of evil but the banality of evil, and the symbiotic relationship between the killer and his pursuer. A very interesting debate on how the mental state of the detective is changed and oftentimes warped in some way by their pursual of a killer. Also a lively exploration of the modern thriller genre in GUNS FOR HIRE– Barry Forshaw (moderator) Jeremy Duns, M. R. Hall, Zoe Sharp, Simon Toyne which drew to my attention some old school thriller writers that had directly influenced the panel, but also juxtaposed with how dated some of these now appeared. General consensus was that a good thriller raised the feeling of fear and suspense in the reader, but needed a firm foundation of good characterisation and fast moving plot to achieve this.
Also a special mention to the encyclopaedic brain of Barry Forshaw for his talk on British crime films which has led to a burgeoning film wish list of some great movies that I had no knowledge of, but am now determined to seek out! So much more than Get Carter and Brighton Rock…
SPECIAL WELL DONE TO MODERATORS EXTRAORDINAIRE:
STAV SHEREZ & CHRIS EWAN- excellent work chaps!
WHAT I SPENT MY POCKET MONEY ON:
Despite the inordinate number of books currently sharing my home I couldn’t resist buying Craig Robertson’s Witness The Dead and the three titles in William McIlvanney’s Laidlaw series- Laidlaw, The Papers of Tony Veitch and Strange Loyalties. I also picked up James Oswald’s second novel (following the excellent Natural Causes) The Book of Souls. Bit of a Scottish theme there I can’t help feeling….
THE THREE MUSKETEERS: Thanks to the lovely folks at Quercus I got the opportunity to attend a dinner with a host of their authors, including the brilliant Antonin Varenne (whose book Bed of Nails was my best crime read last year), Pierre Lemaitre, author of the thrilling Alex, and Xavier-Marie Bonnot whose Voice of the Spirits I also highly recommended. All three authors were incredibly entertaining and I learnt a great deal about, not only the motivations as authors, but also the nature of the book trade and readers in France. Also I met the lovely Barbara Nadel, the slightly bonkers David Mark, Colin Cotterill and Martin Edwards and think I can safely say that a good night (and wee small hours) was had by all!
MOST ENTERTAINING PANELLISTS:
David Mark, Kevin Wignall and Zoe Sharp. Hilarious.
I had a fabulous time at CrimeFest and it was lovely to meet some of my cyber friends at last. Met up with fellow bloggers Mrs Peabody, Sarah of Crimepieces, Rhian of It’s A Crime (or a mystery…) Karen from EuroCrime, and Crime Thriller Girl Steph. Smashing! Thanks to the incredibly relaxed and informal atmosphere of CrimeFest, I also managed to meet a host of authors, some of whom I’ve reviewed and others completely new to me. Special thanks to Stav Sherez for his entertaining conversation on all things Americana, Quentin Bates and Ragnar Jonasson for an Icelandic education, to Steve Mosby, Anya Lipska , Simon Toyne, William Ryan, Antonin Varenne, Kevin Wignall, David Mark, Mari Hannah, David Jackson, Paul Finch, Nick Quantrill, and many many more. Big thanks also to the organisers and delegates of this year’s shindig for a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining time. Can’t wait for next year…
READ MORE ABOUT CRIMEFEST 2013 FROM THE MARVELLOUS:
Mrs Peabody Investigates-Dispatches-From-Bristol-crimefest-2013/
Graskeggur (aka author Quentin Bates) –CrimeFest Report: All Over Bar the Tweeting
Mystery Fanfare –CrimeFest 2013 Award Winners (all except The Petrona)
Sherlockology – Highlights from CrimeFest – Creating Sherlock
Vicky Newham –My Experience of CrimeFest 2013
Alison Gray– Crimefest-30th-May-2nd-June-2013