Tag Archives: Bristol CrimeFest

Bookwitch bites #142

It was nice to find myself in the company of Chris Riddell* and Judith Kerr for breakfast yesterday. Not for real, and it’s not as we were all in Hay or anything, but these two lovely people had dragged themselves into a radio studio ‘early’ on a Sunday morning to share their thoughts about Manchester and Hitler and whether to keep the truth from children.

Judit Kerr, stolen, borrowed from Chris Riddell

The downside to that, as Judith said, is that children think anyway and come up with the oddest ideas. So Hitler wasn’t actually hiding behind the hanging decoration in the toilet. But she sort of believed he might be. And Chris mentioned that his immediate reaction on hearing the Manchester news was to think of his daughter, recently graduated from University there. It’s how we function; we grab something close to ourselves.

In the Guardian Review we could read an extract from Philip Pullman’s Book of Dust. It didn’t take more than a few sentences and I was back in Lyra’s world. I already like Malcolm and his suspicious mind.

Jonathan Stroud, The Empty Grave

Another book to look forward to is Jonathan Stroud’s last Lockwood – The Empty Grave – which had a cover reveal this week. I tend to sneer a bit at reveals like this, but I found myself quite taken with it. Lovely to see George at long last. And I’d say that whereas an empty grave could be seen as a positive thing, I don’t think we should have such sweet expectations here (because where is the corpse?).

Awards are good. Especially when given to the right people for the right books. Some favourites of mine have recently managed this. Simon Mason was awarded Best Crime Novel for Young Adults at CrimeFest for Kid Got Shot. Robin Stevens got the award for Best Crime Novel for Children. I’m simply pleased that the younger books are getting attention like this.

Adrian McKinty won the Edgar for Rain Dogs, which is no minor thing, and is well deserved. He seems quite pleased, judging by this blog post. At home in Australia minding the children, Adrian sent his wife to receive the prize.

(*I’m counting on Mr Riddell’s goodwill in not minding having his sketch stolen by me, as usual.)

Not CrimeFesting at all

I had to agree with the facebook friend who pointed out yesterday that she wasn’t at all jealous of those of her ‘criminal’ friends who are currently in Bristol, enjoying the 10th CrimeFest. She obviously didn’t mean it. We’d both like to be there. Maybe not kill to be there, but severe jealousy is a painful thing.

One of my American colleagues is there, again, and has been ever since he first sat on ‘my’ chair the year after I went. Which is now nine years ago, and I’d not have believed it could – would – be that long. (That’s [not] me on the left. As you can see.)

Dinner Friday Night

And the funny thing is, the less time I have to read adult crime novels, the more I feel like a fraud for even wanting to be there. ‘I won’t know anyone,’ I tell myself. But looked at realistically, I must know many more people than I did in 2008. I suppose I just threw myself right into things then, with my youthful energy, and now I sit here in my dotage, doubting my criminal credentials.

It’s so long ago that I even used the word Ceefax in a blog post the same month! I know because I went back and looked, to remind myself of Bristol. I have promised myself countless times to really try to go back ‘next year.’ I suppose the best thing would be if I could book right now, long before I know what I will or won’t be doing in May 2018.

In 2008 I made the rash decision to go, when discovering that my Irish colleague Declan Burke was going. Just like that. Have I become responsible? No, actually, I haven’t. I just caught a glimpse of the dates for Bouchercon, and almost saw myself in Toronto in October.

This will not do! Bloody Scotland is a short walk away. Much more convenient.

Bookwitch bites #108

Please open your wallets and empty your bank accounts (just a little) for Donna Moore. After a year of almost complete silence this lovely writer and fan of crime emailed to ask for money. Seeing as it’s for a good cause (Glasgow Women’s Library), I decided not to object, and even to pass her request on to you. Donna’s already got 98% of what she hopes to raise, so you (yes, you) could be the one to tip the scales and make her agonising ten km run, excuse me, walk, a total success.

Donna Moore

Rather her than me, I say. It’s tomorrow, so don’t delay. (It’s going to rain, isn’t it?)

Aside from her work for this unusual library, I believe Donna is working on the Bristol CrimeFest, which is now sold out. That’s great news, except for those of us who are not travelling down to Bristol in three weeks’ time to rub shoulders with the best of crime.

Someone who’s going to be there is Martin Edwards, who recently did some travelling of the kind that instantly caused his facebook friends and blog readers to turn green. Martin travelled on the Orient Express, and it looks even more marvellous in his photos than I had imagined. And as I went looking for the link, I couldn’t help noticing that his crime blog currently resembles a seductive holiday brochure. I’m going to have camp outside Martin’s house and follow him wherever he goes.

Instead of sponsored running or walking, I can see myself living it up on an elegant train. Or hotel. Or just some downright wonderful seaside.

I should get out more.

Bookwitch bites #90

I’m very grateful to my faithful and hardworking commenters here on Bookwitch. Hence Seana’s link yesterday to a profile of Hilary Mantel in the New Yorker, was most welcome. I was going to say it was surprisingly timely, as well, but I’m guessing it was actually in the paper because of Hilary’s second Man Booker win.

Congratulations! I’m not a Hilary Mantel reader (yet) but I gather she is marvellous. The profile was a thorough and interesting one, and Seana suggested it on account of similarities she could see between Hilary and J K Rowling. Perhaps J K will win the Man Booker at some point in the future. Personally I hope for more children’s books from J K, but you never know.

Somewhere to rub shoulders with great names in the book world, is at next year’s Crimefest in Bristol. I have been reminded that if you book a place before October is out, you can buy it with a discount. And once you have your pass booked, you can also have the hotel booking cheaper. Win-win situation, in which you get all those lovely professional murderers. Just imagine; you too can meet Søren Sveistrup, the man behind Forbrydelsen (The Killing).

What goes on in people’s brains could be interesting, too. Sorry, not people. Teenagers. Slight difference. Nicola Morgan is going to talk brains in Edinburgh next month. She’s good on brains. I was feeling all nice and safe from this lovely event, until I realised I could probably actually be there. But it will be fine. Interesting, and not gruesome. That’s when Nicola operates on people without anesthetics. I pass out and that’s that. This will be most civilised.

The Royal Institution is also about brains. They are making it easier, or more accessible for smaller brains perhaps, with a series of one minute videos. On real subjects!

Lena Hubbard

And to usher in the weekend, here are a pair of almost identical interviews with Swedish singer Lena Andersson. You might prefer the one in English. But should you be feeling adventurous, the Swedish one is here. (They are not identical. Obviously.)

The YouTube clips should have you singing.

This time he ‘failed better’

Declan Burke is under the – erroneous – impression that he only won the Last Laugh Award at the Bristol CrimeFest because his wife told him not to come home without it. Or so he claims.

Jeffrey Deaver and Declan Burke at CrimeFest

The fact is that Declan deserves to win prizes for his writing, especially if it’s for his humour. It’s not bad at all. Absolute Zero Cool is a weird book, but a funny one, and very different from most other crime novels. I think I might even have voted for AZC this time.

He’s also trying to claim that his speech was bad, because he’d only prepared one for Elmore Leonard (whose prize he’d offered to pick up, thinking he was more likely to win). But others who were lucky enough to be in Bristol on Saturday night seem to say that it was a good speech, so maybe it’s another instance of that maddening modesty.

I had been intending to blog a general moan about me not having been there. But then when this great news came, I thought it’d be more fun to cover the good aspects of CrimeFest, and never mind that I didn’t make it. Peter Rozovsky was there again, and he has a lot of interesting posts on all that went on in Bristol.

As for me, I’ll keep trying.

Things I’m not doing

That would be almost everything, so I will give you the abridged version, skipping household chores issues.

The last four days I haven’t been in Bristol, rubbing shoulders with crime writers galore. Although I would have liked to, obviously. The list of participants at the Bristol CrimeFest reads like a Who’s Who in crime. Saturday night was the gala dinner, with Colin Dexter.

Oh well, who cares? It would have been too hot, anyway… And I’m sure all my crime blogging colleagues will fill me in on what fun they had. Karen at Euro Crime seems to have had a lucky quiz night again.

Stephen Booth is someone else who wasn’t in Bristol, which can be explained by the fact that he was in Stockport on Saturday morning. I had wanted to be there, too, but that was another thing I didn’t do. If I hadn’t read about it on Stephen’s website I wouldn’t have known this town had a Culture Feast going on, but that’s why he did an event here with Anna Dean and Anna Chilvers. Clearly the thing is to be called Anna.

Also, will not be telling you of the book I’m reading. Yet. It’s been embargoed, so I’ll do a little something later. It’s to do with crime, and quite interesting, really. I’m not sure I believe in embargoes. Is it better if the news explode all over the place on the same day? Some early appetisers can work well on occasion.

Since I’m not in Bristol this morning, packing my suitcase (which is a small bonus) I’ll leave you with the link to the blog written by Martin Edwards. While I’m busy telling you of non-events, I have to own up to not having read anything of Martin’s yet. I blame it on the fact that the book I was recommended was out of print when I searched for it. But I must.

I know why I mentioned Martin here. It may be less clear to you. Martin is in Bristol, where he has moderated a few panels. I was impressed by his moderation skills two years ago. Could be because he’s a solicitor, which I’m only mentioning because my penultimate paragraph made me think of this.

Going round in circles. Sorry.

Crime bloggers

How long do you have to know someone to tell them to shut up? Would 15 minutes be too soon?

The witch has gone to Bristol for a weekend of crime, and the CrimeFest started with a pub quiz, which is not my area of expertise. Not wanting to be too much of a wet blanket I went anyway, and forced myself on three other ladies, one of whom I actually recognised from her blog photo. (Good thing I don’t have one.) It turned out that I had found Declan‘s gang of bloggers, that he’s looking forward to meeting. Well, we were there. Where were you?

The very knowledgeable bloggers were Euro Crime, It’s A Crime! and Petrona, and it was nice for me to meet them after months of seeing them on blogrolls here and there. Anyway, no thanks to the witch, but we came third, which isn’t bad considering the place was full of crime writers. It’s just that Petrona had a tendency to say the answers out fairly loud, and at one point announced it to everyone…

Never mind. It’s just a game. Deadly, but a game.

I’ll stick to children’s books.