Fresh and exciting evidence of the striking growth of interest in Golden Age fiction is supplied by the announcement that Bodies from the Library, a one day conference, will take place at the British Library on Saturday 20 June. The organisers have set up a website as well as a Facebook page, and I am optimistic that this venture will attract a great deal of interest.
John Curran, the pre-eminent expert on Agatha Christie, is a guiding spirit behind the setting up at the conference. It sprang from discussions at Crimefest last year about the fact that, over the years, Golden Age fiction has not been discussed very often at crime conventions (other than the Forgotten Authors panel at Crimefest and some of the papers given at St Hilda's each year). As a result, John, Mike Linane and fellow enthusiasts including Liz Cooper, Norman Home, and Susan Cooper decided it would be a good idea to set up a dedicated conference. Naturally, I think they were absolutely right. But putting on a conference, especially when starting out, is very hard work.
John, Mike and company have done a great job, gaining enthusiastic and valuable backing from both the British Library and Harper Collins. They are in the process of finalising what will be a packed programme. The speakers include the pre-eminent publishers of Golden Age-related books, David Brawn of Harper Collins,and Rob Davies of the British Library. Other speakers include Jake Kerridge of the Daily Telegraph, and Barry Pike and Tony Medawar, two of the leading authorities on Golden Age fiction. If you like traditional fiction, the chance to hear Barry, John and Tony really should not be missed.
Contemporary novelists with a strong interest in the Golden Age will be speaking; they include Len Tyler, Dolores Gordon Smith, and me. At least one leading present day crime writer is likely to be added to the list shortly.This is a ground-breaking event, and I'm very glad to be part of it. I hope that some of the GA fans who read this blog will be able to attend.
A few words from Mike Linane: :"Golden Age is a huge topic and to have a day where true experts
talk about their favourite authors and suggest books to read as well as hearing
from the publishers what they take into account before republishing out of
print titles as well as finding out about todays authors who are carrying on in
the GA tradition. There's something for everyone and I am sure the
entire audience will leave at the end of the day with a list of books they are
desperate to read Oh, and there are goody bags and spot
prizes as well!"