Monday, 22 July 2013

The Weekend Has Been Murder

The Swan Hotel Harrogate
The Swan Hotel had been swarming with some of the most ghastly brutal sadistic minds in the world when it comes to thinking up new and interesting ideas to murder someone. But I am happy to report that these ideas remain on paper, and are (hopefully) quite separate to reality.

Denise Mina in conversation with Martyn Waites

The 10th Theakston's Old Peculier (in this case, peculiar is meant to be spelt peculier) Crimewriter's Festival, has been an incredible success. This year organised by Val McDermid, it kicked off for me Thursday evening with the awards ceremony. Denise Mina, was described as the Hilary Mantel of crime after winning the Crime Novel of the Year award for the second year running with her book Gods and Beasts.
Ruth Rendell won the Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award or lifetime achievement award. She really shone the next day during her interview with Jeanette Winterson.

Val McDermid
Other highlights for me was Val McDermid's musical introduction to Peter James with her rendition of  Bonnie Tyler's Holding Out For A Hero.
 Peter was well deserving of such an introduction, as he was a replacement for Susan Hill, who sadly had to cancel due to illness. When Peter heard about this, he flew straight over from New York, had a six hour drive to do the gig, then straight back to the airport as he had a charity event in New York to attend the very next day.

Brenda Blethyn, John R Cowton, Ann Cleeves
Saturday, for me was a real treat with William McIlvanney in conversation with Ian Rankin, discussing the origin of the 'tartan noire' genre.
 Ann Cleeves, the writer behind the Vera Stanhope series together with some of the ITV Vera team, Elaine Collins executive producer, Paul Rutman  screenwriter, and Vera herself, Brenda Blethyn.
Lee Child was a good match to Sarah Millican's sharp wit during the afternoon. The evening ended for me with Mark Lawson and Kate Atkinson.
The weekend ended on a high note on Sunday, with Charlaine Harris whose tales of Sookie Stackhouse was developed into the True Blood series.

Leigh Russell, John R Cowton
However, the weekend was not all about sitting in events in the ballroom. It was about the energy generated by a gathering of likeminded readers and writers that inspired, enthralled, motivated and captured the hearts of one and all. My own personal thanks go to the organisers, the festival staff and volunteers, the hotel staff, Theakstons for their lovely beer and of course the writers.
Special thanks to author Leigh Russell and her husband  for their companionship, and introducing me to some of her associates, author Ricki Thomas for her continued support and inspiration. There are many more, far too many to mention.
Back to reality, but at least I've returned home pumped with Harrogate energy and Theakston's beer, ready for 12 months of writing before the next festival.


Thursday, 11 July 2013

Harrogate Crime Festival 2013

Less than a week to go, and I'm looking forward to spending a few days in a place where I know it will be okay to speak to anyone I meet about writing. It charges my batteries, and sends me home with just about the right level of inspiration and motivation. There are still a few tickets left, but unless you have a tent or a caravan,  you may be out of luck for a hotel room.
Having left the car at home and taken the train last year, I have made the train a part of the Festival experience, for comfort and a good opportunity to read.
I will post a full report on my return.
Finally, congratulations to my sister for her comedy debut on BBC Four's 'Some Vicars With Jokes' Part One, which went out last night. If you missed it, I'm sure it's repeated and you can get it on iPlayer. Amazing  performance Jean, and I would be more than happy to write for you, if you wish to develop a second career. I'm looking forward to part two next week.