Monday, 23 May 2016
Living the Dream
I'm back home, briefly, after an exhilarating Crimefest, superbly organised as usual by Adrian, Myles, Liz and Donna. It's always fun to go to Bristol, and the fact that this year saw a record attendance speaks for itself.
For me, it was an especially memorable week-end. On Thursday, as usual, we had the Forgotten Authors panel: Jessica Mann, Susan Moody, John Curran, Len Tyler, and Guy Fraser-Sampson made the occasion engaging as well as informative. And in the evening came the pub quiz, now happily restored to an actual pub, in which I was part of a team that narrowly squeaked victory thanks to a tie-break.
Even better, on Friday, at the CWA Daggers reception (where one of the speakers was Peter Davision, not only a former Doctor Who, but also TV's Albert Campion) , The Golden Age of Murder was announced as one of the books on the longlist for the non-fiction Dagger. Given that, in the past, this category has really been the preserve of books dealing with real life crime, this was not necessarily to be foreseen, and naturally I am delighted.
And even more happily, at the gala banquet on Saturday evening (toastmaster Hugh Fraser, alias Poirot's chum Captain Hastings) Sheila Keating announced that the winner of the H.R.F. Keating award for best non-fiction crime-related book of the past year was...The Golden Age of Murder. Among many reasons why I was gratified was that Harry was very supportive of me in my early years as a writer - he was even good enough to give a lovely quote for the cover of The Devil in Disguise - and Sheila too has become a great friend. In fact, she and her delightful agent were my dinner companions the previous evening, but not a word was mentioned about the award. Sheila said to me afterwards that she is good at keeping a secret, and that's absolutely right.
My other panel for the week-end was themed around Brit Noir and moderated with his usual expertise by Barry Forshaw; fellow panellists were Howard Linskey, whom I was glad to meet for the first time, Alison Bruce and Laura Wilson. There was plenty of time for socialising as well as attending other panels and talks (for instance by the creator of Death in Paradise, the hugely impressive Robert Thorogood). The photo of Ali Karim with the book was actually taken at last year's Crimefest, but Ali has kindly offered to send me some of his shots from this year, which I shall upload here in due course. In the meantime, I can only say that Crimefest goes from strength to strength, and if you have never attended, it is definitely recommended, whether you are a reader or a writer or both..