I'm just back from Harrogate after the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Festival. A crime writing festival sponsored by a brewery. What could possibly be better? Every year the festival seems to grow in popularity and this one seemed specially enjoyable. I love the mix of people, the newcomers and the folk who've been there every year, the publishers and booksellers and bloggers and agents. Everyone mixing and sharing stories about books. The relaxed atmosphere this year was in great part thanks to Steve Mosby the chair of the programming committee. He seemed to be everywhere, often with a pint in his hand, chatting, introducing the guests, making sure things were running smoothly. He must have been exhausted by the end of the weekend.
I was honoured to be a special guest this year and had an 'in conversation' slot with Peter May, the best-selling author of the Lewis trilogy. We chatted about islands, how we do our research and how we feel about television adaptation. It seemed like a chat with an old friend although we'd only met once before. On Friday evening we had the Pan Macmillan dinner for authors, writers and friends. This is always a very special occasion and I was particularly pleased to meet Ray Celestin, the debut author of one of my favourite reads of the year, The Axeman's Jazz.
Saturday was meetings and more catching up with friends. In the evening I MCed the readers' murder mystery dinner. I love this event, where readers get a chance to meet authors. I'd invited Steven Robertson, who plays Sandy and Alison O'Donnell who plays Tosh in the BBC drama Shetland to read the parts of two of my suspects, and very scary they were too.
Now we're already preparing for next year - when I have a more hands on role as chair of the programming committee. I hope I can be as gracious and well organised as Steve.