Wednesday, 25 July 2012

It Was Murder In Harrogate

I got back from Harrogate on Sunday after three days of the Crime Writing Festival plus Creative Thursday workshops the day before the festival got going.
The Old Swan Hotel
The venue, The Old Swan Harrogate was the place where Agatha Christie's mysterious disappearance in 1926 came to an end.
Creative Thursday, was well worth the extra day, with a workshop on Plot development in the morning with creative writing teacher Greg Moss from West Dean College and husband to author Kate Mosse who we saw later in the festival. 
We were treated to a talk from successful authors Mark Edwards and Louise Vosse who launched their writing partnership on the Kindle and have landed a lucrative publishing deal. During the afternoon crimewriter Stuart McBride led a two hour workshop with his team of forensic experts Lorna Dawson, Professor Dave Barclay and Dr James Grieve, forensic scientists from The James Hutton Institute in Scotland. By the end of that session, if we didn't know how to write a good murder we sure as hell had a good idea how to commit one. The day came to a close when brave aspiring authors (I was too chicken... for that reason I was out) faced 'The Dragon's Pen.'
Colin Dexter and Simon Theakston
Simon Theakston and Denise Mina
The opening party on Thursday started with an awards ceremony. I felt privileged to see Colin Dexter, the creator of Inspector Morse, receive a lifetime achievement ward. Author Denise Mina won the Crime novel of the year award for her ninth book 'The End of the Wasp Season.'
Over the following three days discussions and interviews ran in succession from nine in the morning throughout the day with one or two late night events. All the writers were accessible to everybody. Mark Billingham, Val McDermid, Jo Nesbo, Harlan Coben, Stephen Leather and Ricki Thomas to name but a few.
I have already booked my hotel for next year, it sells out fast and would recommend the event to anybody interested in the crime genre. It was said on more than one occasion, during the festival, but I found out for myself, that crime writers are the best people anyone could wish to meet.