I had a ball last year at Ye Olde CrimeFeste (statue erected in my honour, right) and I’m looking forward to more of the same this year. What’s terrific about these conventions is that you get to stroll around for a couple of days pretending to be a bona fide writer and no small boy points his finger at you and says, “Oi, yon emperor-type ain’t wearing no clothes.” It’s a wonderful thing, pretending to be a writer … but then, pretending is what writers do best.
The other great thing about conventions and festivals is meeting up with the people you only tend to see at such events. Writing being (in theory, at least) a solitary pursuit, and regarded by something of an anti-social affliction by those nearest and dearest who don’t write, it’s nice to chow down with like-minded folk. As always, it’ll be great to hook up with Irish scribes the likes of Declan Hughes, Brian McGilloway and Ruth ‘Cuddly’ Dudley Edwards, and also some people I’ve met on my travels over the last couple of years, including Paul Johnston, Martin Edwards, the uber-glam Donna Moore, Ruth Downie, Chris Ewan, and a few more. And then there’s my fellow members of the bloggoratti, being Maxine, Karen, Norm, Ali and – possibly – the Book Witch and Rhian, although I’m not sure they’re going to make it this year. And, of course, we’ll all be in awe of the award-winning blogger, Peter Rozovsky of Detectives Beyond Borders, who’ll be doing his Uncle Travelling Matt impression in Bristol.
Anyway, it’ll be dry sherries all round, so here’s hoping the old liver holds out. For those of you interested, I’ll drop a line on Monday or Tuesday (depending on the volume of dry sherries) to let you know how the panels went. I’m on two: Friday at 1.30, for ‘I Was A Fugitive From A Chain Gang: Writing About The Bad Guys’ alongside Chris Ewan, Steve Mosby and Kevin Wignall, with Donna Moore moderating; and Saturday at 3.30, for Natural Born Killers: Maxim’s Picks, alongside Cara Black, Paul Johnston and – hurrah! – Donna Moore, with Maxim Jakubowski moderating.
All in all, fun times ahead …
UPDATE: The ‘Who Is The Sexiest Irish Crime Writer?’ poll is now open for business, people, in the top-left corner of the blog … The results will be skewed, naturally, given that Gene Kerrigan has removed himself from consideration, but what can you do?
“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.