e a m harris

Roaming the byways of literature

Archive for the tag “Crimefest”

Cancellation! Cancellation! Cancellation!


Edinburgh Boook Festival

Harrogate Festivals


Guernsey Literary Festival





All over the world events are cancelled. People who worked hard to put together a programme see it torn to nothing by a creature that is so small it’s invisible.

Those of us who were looking forward to a dose of culture, in my case particularly literature, must give up for this year.

Online is wonderful, and I congratulate and thank anyone who has created an online festival. But it’s not a substitute for the buzz of a real poetry reading, the joy of anticipating a panel of famous writers in the flesh, the pleasure of going through a hard-copy programme and ticking off the events to see.

However, there’s another side to this. So many festivals cancelled! Yes, but let us remember that there were ‘so many’ to cancel. So many organisers, who are often volunteers, so many eager audiences.

In years past and to come we live in a time of celebrating the arts and sciences like never before in history.


Events approaching

In April last year I reblogged Crimepieces post about the Petrona Award for Scandinavian crime novels. I failed to follow it up and find out who won. Never mind: the award has come around again (as they do) and the shortlist was published in March. As usual I want to read most of the books on the list, but I know I won’t have time. Would a life spent reading be good? or would I get tired of even the best books

This year the winner will be announced at Crimefest, which starts this coming Thursday. The announcement will apparently be made at the Gala dinner, so any attendees will have to do some serious eating as well as listening.

Another event I’ve stumbled across is run by the British Library and is dedicated to Golden Age crime fiction. It is Bodies From The Library which is a very suitable name. This event is only one day (17 June), but it has a very full programme.

I’m sure there are many other events that I’ve missed reading about. Literary festivals and conventions seem to be multiplying apace; soon we’ll be able to go to one every day of the summer and most of the winter too. But would the bank balance and stamina hold out?

Secondhand serendipity

I recently went to Crimefest, and had a really good time. Among the many tables dedicated to books is a swap table. Browsing through the books left for swap I saw one with ‘Johnson County Library’ and a bar code on its cover.3026099

My first reaction was that someone had left their library book by mistake; then I opened it and inside was printed ‘Withdrawn from Johnson County Library’. So it was the result of library weeding and it was OK to take it.

The book was Daughter of Deceit by Patricia Sprinkle, an author I’d not heard of. I’m not sure if her work is available in the UK – Johnson County sounds like it’s somewhere in America.

I really enjoyed it. I’m so glad that someone at Crimefest left it. Now that I’ve read it I feel honour bound to pass it on to one of the local secondhand bookshelves so someone else can enjoy it too.

It is set among the very rich in Atlanta. Not an underworld setting – well-mannered, well-dressed women living in beautiful houses in a lovely town. Like my own, less wealthy, neighbours they spend their time raising families and raising funds for good causes. The mystery, when it strikes, is all the more shocking for being in such a society.

A middle-aged woman deeply into genealogy is called upon to help a woman neighbour whose world has been turned upside down by the discovery that her late father may not have been related to her at all. How did he really feel about her? Is she entitled to the wealth she’s inherited? And, to top it all, did she really shoot her husband?

I will certainly look out for more of Ms Sprinkle’s work.

Cover art from Goodreads.

A great day out at Crimefest

Yesterday we went to Crimefest – a real treat for crime fiction fans. We attended fascinating panel discussions, an interview with Jeffery Deaver and some interesting discussions. We also met old acquaintances from previous years and caught up with their news. The day finished with a reception at which the Crime Writers Association announced their awards shortlists.

And, of course, we bought a pile of new books.

Literary festivals of all sorts are popular. There’s a wide choice, from general ones like Bath or Cheltenham, to special interest ones for crime, science fiction, fantasy and romance. There’s always a holiday feel to them and its great mingling with other readers all having a good time.

Crimefest 2012

Crimefest, a convention devoted to crime fiction, takes place every year in Bristol. This year it’s on 24-27 May.

I have so much on that I may not make it this year, but so far it’s still in my diary. Having been several times I now know some of the other regulars, and it’s good to see them again and catch up with their news.

I love being able to wallow in a favourite type of fiction, to meet authors and to listen to a range of panel discussions covering everything from ancient Rome gritty to modern cosy.

I also end up buying more books than I intend to – but isn’t that something we all do?

The event is a meeting between the unreal world of fiction and the real one of the book business, and gives us the best of both.

Festivals – literary, musical, etc – represent a peaceable and friendly sharing of ideas, knowledge and skills. Here are people getting together for civilised learning and discussion on high and popular art and other interests they have in common. The proliferation of such events is surely one of the best things about our culture.

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