Monday, 24 August 2020

Events of a new kind

We all know that lockdown has been nightmarish for many people and organisations, including those trying to organise events and festivals. But these strange times have brought out the best in many of them. There's been a great deal of innovative thinking, and much hard work has gone in to trying to connect readers and writers.

Podcasts have been gaining rapidly in popularity and Shedunnit is a very good example. Run by Caroline Crampton, it's a good example of the marriage of enthusiasm, expertise, and enterprise. I was glad to accept her invitation to talk about the Detection Club recently, and the result has just been aired: 

Last week I was busy recording two videos which will be released later. I must say that I much prefer pre-recorded videos to live ones, even though the 'live' element can have real benefits. The difficulty is that, if you have four or five people taking part in a live video event, there is every chance of a technological glitch, and although these can never be ruled out, I think that - where possible - it's less stressful to pre-record, and allow for editing.

There was a bittersweet aspect to the first video. Last year I was invited to the Sacramento Bouchercon to interview Anthony Horowitz, and I was very much looking forward to the trip for a host of reasons. Alas, it was not to be. Undaunted, the organisers set up a recorded video; I was based in England, while Anthony was speaking from Crete. It was fun to do, and will be made available in October, to coincide with the period when Bouchercon would have been taking place.

The second video was part of Slaughterfest, set up by HarperCollins to celebrate Karin Slaughter's work. I was honoured to be asked to chair a panel to discuss classic crime fiction. The panelists were four bestselling novelists, Lucy Foley, Kate Weinberg, Sophie Hannah, and Ruth Ware, and the conversation proved very enjoyable. Again, the discussion was pre-recorded, and it will be made available soon.

I'm now in discussions about various other virtual events. A couple of these will involved conversations with Ann Cleeves, while others will focus more generally on crime fiction past and present. To say that I'm grateful to those who do the hard work of making these events happen is an under-statement.

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