There were a number of really enjoyable highlights at the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival over the weekend. One event I'd like to focus on in this blog is a launch of Two Writers: One Story, by A.J. Hawley (with whom I'm pictured above) and Rob Parker. Craig Sisterson and Alex Hawley did a Q and A that had some emotional and touching moments before audience members had a chance to ask questions of their own. This is Alex's first book, but it's clear that there are more to come - and I very much look forward to seeing them.
I have huge admiration for people who battle on through setbacks, and over the years I've had the pleasure and privilege to meet a number of remarkable individuals who have achieved a great deal despite having to contend with significant disabilities of different kinds. Many, many years ago, I was a member of a Law Society working party which urged the introduction of legislation to protect people with disabilities from discrimination and, although to be honest I've no idea whether our determined advocacy made much of a difference to the outcome, legislation thankfully did follow a couple of years later. Decades on, I'm very conscious that there remains a great deal to be done to support people with disabilities within our communities. In the meantime, it is great to be able to talk to people like Alex and have the chance to admire what they have already done, overcoming many obstacles - obstacles which some of us might find impossibly daunting - along the way.
I'd already seen a pdf of the book, but I was delighted to be able to buy a physical copy, published by Spellbound Books, an imprint overseen by Nicola East and Sumaira Wilson. It's a chunky volume, full of interviews with writers, but including stories by Alex as well. There's an interview with me, but readers needn't worry, there are many, many more, with luminaries such as Elly Griffiths, Steve Cavanagh, Sarah Hilary and others. Great stuff.