Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival – Harrogate – Friday

The first full day of the event is just over the halfway mark and, to be honest, the pace is such that a required recharge of batteries, phone charge and change of shirt (Chinese meal slippage over lunch) was very much needed.

The morning started off with a packed room (impressive showing after the late night yesterday for many) to greet guest of honour, John Connolly, to the stage to discuss his work with festival Chair Mark Billingham.  I’ve had the good fortune to see them in conversation on a few occasions in the past, so knew it would be an entertaining and good start to the day – filled with nice anecdotes and discussion – it certainly did not disappoint.

Rushing from the room just prior to the end of the event, I was very pleased to be given the opportunity to meet and chat with Arne Dahl (having recently enjoyed his first UK published book ‘The Blinded Man.  Interview will be posted when the dust has settled on the festival trip.

I then managed to catch about half of the ‘Crime in another Dimension’ panel – but it was certainly enough to get a great flavour of the writers’ styles and to pick up tips on yet more great books that I NEED to seek out.  Of particular note was the discussion on whether their should be a Pride and Prejudice with Machine Guns or Stuart MacBride’s bizarre but nevertheless somewhat appealing sounding ‘Winnie the Pooh & the Silence of the Piglets’ – I think he was joking, but who knows what we might expect from Mr MacBride?

Second interview opportunity of the day came with the chance to sit down with Jason Webster, whose second Max Camara novel ‘A Death in Valencia’ has just been published – again, the interview will appear on the blog as soon as poss.

A lovely meal followed at the Chinese restaurant in town, thanks to Orion books, and was very nice to spend some time with their new crime authors A.J. Cross ‘Gone in Seconds’, Harry Bingham ‘Talking to the Dead’ and Mark Peterson ‘Flesh and Blood’.  A nice lunch, only spoiled by the aforementioned food spillage on a white shirt !

But the shirt had to wait, and I am so glad it did, as the ‘Wanted for Murder – The E-Book’ panel was probably the most passionate event I have so far witnessed at the festival.  With Stephen Leather on the panel, so passionate about the power of ebooks and on his sales in particular, he was on more than one occasion up against the wrong argument and defence of ‘real’ books and real pricing by other members of the panel and audience.  Passions raised high and on more than one occasion authors were applauded for their defence – Laura Lippman and Mark Billingham delivering impassioned reactions to comments made on stage.

Okay, coffee’s nearly gone cold, phone’s charged – it’s time to start getting ready to head back to more of the festival…..

Keith

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