Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Another Festival

Writing events (including writing workshops) have become an interesting mix of  live, hybrid, and online gigs, with podcasts and other online events adding further variety. This year, it's been a real pleasure for me to take part in no fewer than four festivals in Scotland and over the weekend I attended my final 'live' festival of the year, at Bloody Scotland in Stirling.

Because of other commitments, it had to be something of a flying visit, and before I set off I had a number of causes for celebration. One was a wonderful review of Blackstone Fell by Barry Turner in the Daily Mail. Another was a message from a school librarian in the south of England, telling me that my very first novel, All the Lonely People, had been chosen as their ebook of the month. I gather the pupils enjoyed the plot twists, and I do find it truly heartening that a book written so long ago should continue to entertain a new generation of readers.

Stirling is a historic city, which I haven't visited for ages, and shortly after arrival I bumped into Elly Griffiths and Lesley Thomson, so we went off and had (not for the first time this year) a very enjoyable chat over a pizza and a glass of wine. On Saturday morning I had the chance to chat with a number of old friends, including Ann Cleeves, Marsali Taylor, Mick Herron, Jane Corry, and Ayo Onatade. It was also good to talk with Susan Heads, who runs the excellent Booktrail site which carried a great review, of Blackstone Fell, Sophie Ransom (who has done a great job promoting the book) and my fellow panel members, Jonathan Whitelaw and Sophia Bennett. Ayo and Susan are in the photos above, Jonathan and Sophia below.

Our panel, chaired by Rod Green, was on the topic of 'cosy crime' (or, as I'd rather call it, the 'traditional mystery') and it was a lot of fun. After a quick look round Stirling I had to dash back home, but I broke the long drive at Penrith, and enjoyed wandering around the ancient castle in the sunshine. This year's live festivals have been highly convivial and I've had a great time at places as different as Colonsay, Harrogate, Gladstone's Library, and Birnam. Thanks go to all the organisers who work so hard to make these events so enjoyable. And now a few days' break before, with any luck, I finish the next Rachel Savernake book, Sepulchre Street, and start to tackle a few short story commissions...  

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