Monday 12 June 2023

Alibis in the Archive 2023


I'm in the midst of a whirl of activity with a fantastic variety of trips. More of this another day, but today I'm reflecting on the weekend just past, which saw the latest Alibis from the Archive festival at Gladstone's Library. The photos were taken by Caroline Raeburn, whom I was delighted to see again, on her first visit to this wonderful place. Among many others, it was especially good to see Liz Gilbey, Steve Barge, Mike Wilson, Mary Andrea Clark,  Carrie de Silva, Mark Green, and Susan Cooper, the last two taking a breather from their prep for Bodies from the Library. It was also good to meet a number of people for the first time.

Because of major traffic issues, everyone had a pretty tricky journey to Hawarden on Friday, and this meant that the welcome kindly organised by the new Warden of Gladstone's, Andrea Russell, had to be delayed by an hour. But a drink soon meant the recovery process kicked in for everyone, and it was a delight for me to meet Andrea for the first time since her arrival at Gladstone's, and to discover that she is a genuine crime fan.

After dinner on Friday, I hosted a quiz, won by a team including Jonathan Hopson, who has been on the winning team three times running. Jonathan, a volunteer at the Library, has a terrific range of knowledge. There was time for a chat with many of the attendees before the end of the day.

Saturday began with an entertaining talk from Dolores Gordon-Smith about the Bravo case, followed by me talking about the CWA's 70 year history. Then came Felix Francis, a born raconteur, talking about the 'family business' that created the bestselling Dick Francis novels. After lunch we had a special display of items from the British Crime Writing Archives and then a talk by Len Tyler about humour in crime fiction. After dinner, Felix, Dolores and I, plus a few others were able to watch the European Champions League final and I was duly delighted when Manchester City triumphed and completed the coveted 'Treble'.

On Sunday, we began with a talk by Tim Sullivan (third photo above) about his career in film, TV, and fiction, and an equally enjoyable talk by Matthew Booth about Golden Age fiction. Last but by no means least came Chrissie Poulson, discussing academic detective stories. After Sunday lunch we said our goodbyes and both I and the very supportive and hard-working library staff were thrilled with the feedback. About a quarter of the attendees had never visited the Library before - and not surprisingly, they were impressed with this wonderful venue. My thanks go to everyone who took part for making it such a great occasion.


Liz Gilbey said...

But actually the thanks go to you for organising such a fabulous weekend, Martin - probably the best so far. So many thanks for all the hard work, and to Team Helena for such support in depth to us all. On the way out at the end of the weekend I stopped for a chat with one of the waiting staff, who said (without prompting!) how everyone at Gladstone's looked forward to the Alibis weekend, as everyone attending was always so kind, friendly and warm hearted; and never stopped chatting. Yes, that's about right.Just shows the ambience and reflects the values of the inspiration from the top! And to everyone who was there, or may be reading this - see you all again next year!

Mark said...

Thoroughly enjoyed the weekend. Great speakers with interesting talks and excellent conversations with friends old and new in between.

Martin Edwards said...

Liz, Mark, thanks to both of you. There was a lovely group of speakers - and a very high calibre audience!