Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival – Friday (afternoon/evening/night):

After a break, I returned to the 5pm panel ‘America’s Got Talent’ – chaired by John Connolly and kicking off with a humorous introduction to the panel which basically gave him the chance to verbally bash Chris Mooney on stage at every opportunity by comparing authors’ educational and publishing successes. The general theme which Connolly took to his four guests (Ryan David Jahn, Gillian Flynn, Chris Mooney and Megan Abbott) was ‘What the hell is wrong with you people?!’ – a line repeated at various intervals.  But when Mooney described a recently set up US company ‘Holy Smoke’ – that offers loved ones the option to have their deceased relative’s ashes placed into whatever calibre of ammunition they require, so they can then fire their loved one skywards or use to hunt their dinner – I think, at that point we all began to ask the same question that the chair raised. Essentially the panel resulted with the end game that all panels at the festival have – another long queue of keen crime fiction fans waiting in line to purchase some great new crime reads.

I was very kindly invited to two publishers’ events following the ‘America’ panel and the mix of authors and publishing teams at each showed once again, that this is a very supportive network and, above all, everyone is here for a good time.  Many thanks to Hodder and to Little Brown for their kind hospitality.

And then, we were there, the biggest ticket of the night, ten years in the waiting:

Ian Rankin and Peter Robinson returned to the stage in conversation within a bar set – first pints pulled by landlord Mr Billingham (who seemed to then take the evening off after fetching their crisps).  A packed room of keen fans of both writers in a perfect setting, to hear them discuss their writing, their characters (Rebus & Banks), their early careers and jobs, and their next works. A top value event, and one that had the rare occurrence of an author asking for people to NOT queue to meet him and get books signed afterwards, as Mr Rankin was keen to head home (with a ticket to see Dr John perform the following day :)

More comments and notes to be added later – it’s now almost time for Saturday’s events to start, beginning with Peter James interviewed by Paul Blezard.

Keith

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