Monday 19 October 2009

Back where it all began

Yesterday I made the three and a half hour round trip to Boroughbridge in North Yorkshire. Quite a long way to go for a lunch (and if the traffic is bad, it can be a five-hour plus trip) but definitely worth while. For this was the autumn lunch of the Northern Chapter of the Crime Writers’ Association, and the venue was the Crown Hotel, where I attended the Chapter’s inaugural lunch, more than twenty years ago.

At that time, I didn’t know any crime writers, but I was immediately made to feel at home by the convenor Peter Walker, who was there again yesterday. Peter is best known these days as author of the books on which the massively successful TV series ‘Heartbeat’ is based. He was one of three people at the lunch who have chaired the CWA – Lesley Horton and Margaret Murphy being the others.

Among those attending that inaugural lunch were Peter and Margaret Lewis, two academics who have written successful non-fiction books about the genre, as well as some good fiction. They have also set up that much-acclaimed small press, Flambard Press, publisher of Dancing for the Hangman. The three of us dined at the same table, accompanied (among others) by Roger and Jean from Cornwell Internet, who are responsible for the CWA’s website, and those of many leading crime writers.

There is always a ‘feelgood’ factor about these lunches, and this continues with Roger Forsdyke as convenor in succession to Peter Walker. Roger has just published a novel which benefits from his many years of experience in the police. There was an excellent turn-out of 37 people, a sure sign, as Roger said, that the Northern Chapter is the best supported of all the regional branches of the CWA. I enjoyed meeting up with friends old and new (the latter group includes Frances Brody and the historical novelist Karen Maitland). And on the drive back home, I reflected on how very glad I am that I accepted Peter’s original invitation to the Crown, all those years ago.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

That sounds like fun. I think you're like me and spend a lot of time hanging out with other writers? Always an interesting and fun time.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Martin Edwards said...

Absolutely, Elizabeth, and with any luck my path will cross with yours as well at some future convention.

Anonymous said...

Martin - it does sound as though you had a good time. I learn a lot from and thoroughly enjoy the company of other writers, too, and I'm glad you had that opportunity.

Minnie said...

What a wonderfully convivial crew crime writers are! I somehow doubt the gathering would have been quite as much fun - or quite as relaxed - had the attendees been, hm, 'literary' novelists ...
Ann Cleeves excellent, agreed. Am looking forward to reading Karen Maitland. She sounds as if she might be giving Ariana Franklyn (Diana Norman) a run for her mediaevalist money.