It was great to see so many visitors from the US and I bumped into a few people I knew only from exchanges on the Internet.
The Curzon Panel I was part of on Friday was a very informal affair with good-humoured discussion and plenty of thought-provoking questions from the audience. It threw up a debate that we’ve covered before: What exactly constitutes a thriller and what is the definition of a crime novel? There’s clearly a significant crossover. A lot of thrillers involve crime. Does a crime novel have to feature a police officer as a protagonist? If so, where does that leave Miss Marple?
All The Young Punks started the day on Saturday with fellow debut authors and I, ably conducted by Marcel Berlins, discussing our different experiences of getting a book into print. Everyone had a different story to tell and we only seemed to be getting to the meat of things when our time was up.
I then had the opportunity to go and sit in the audience on some of the other excellent panels that were cued up. From Gyles Brandreth’s no-pause-for-breath, anecdotal ‘interview’ with Peter Guttridge about his Oscar Wilde mysteries to Chris Carter’s lecture about serial killers there was something for all criminal tastes. I then supported Zoe at her self defence demonstration as well as sitting in on Leigh’s discussion about writing a series and finished with Matt's chat about wartime thrillers (see below).
My only criticism was that the hotel bar was so vastly overpriced that everyone dispersed around Bristol at the end of the day and the weekend lacked that community drink-up that I’ve experienced at other literary conventions. Not the fault of the organisers but perhaps there could have been an implied alternative drinking hole.
I had great fun though and saw plenty of copies of STOP ME shifted as well so thanks to everyone who asked me to sign theirs.
And big thanks again to the organisers who were so accommodating and friendly. The whole event flowed effortlessly - from my perspective at least.