Wednesday, 2 May 2012

The Southampton Conference

The week-end before last saw the annual conference of the Crime Writers’ Association, an event which moves around the country, and this year was held at Southampton. I first attended the conference when it was held in Scarborough back in 1988, and since then I’ve missed very few.

The conference is a good chance to catch up with old friends and make new ones – among the latter, I was glad to meet Rosemary Rowe and Nicola Slade at the Gala Dinner, and also to meet Dick Francis’s son Felix. We kicked off with a mayoral reception in an impressive new museum with a maritime theme. And there are always some interesting talks – the topics covered included Saxon burial sites in Hampshire, marine policing and local murder cases. Felix also gave a fascinating talk about his father, and the “family business” of thriller writing.

I’ve never looked round Southampton before, and on an all too brief Saturday afternoon walk around the city, I was rather taken with the place – lots of greenery in the city centre, a good waterfront and quite a bit of history, including the remains of the city walls. And inevitably I popped in on one of the various exhibitions inspired by the centenary of the launching of the Titanic.

All in all, then, a most enjoyable experience. Organising a conference, though, is very hard work. I once organised a weekend for the Northern Chapter of the CWA, and that was demanding enough – sorting out a much bigger event and making sure all goes smoothly is a real challenge. So a special mention for organiser Kate Stacey, who did a great job (and thanks to Judith Cutler, who took a picture of us together which so far Blogger has refused to let me upload...).

And finally, congratulations to Peter James, elected to chair the CWA for another year.


Maxine said...

Although I am allergic to the Titanic anniversary hoo-haa, Southampton has a special reason to be an exception. A huge proportion of the people who died were from Southampton as the crew was largely composed of local people. Families there still remember, and suffer, today. Someone should put this history into a crime novel, as it is not generally appreciated (unless you live in S/ton or have visited their exhibition).

Martin Edwards said...

Hi Maxine, great to hear from you. And you're right, it would be interesting to have a Titanic based crime novel. I suppose there have been some over the years, but I don't actually know of any.