A couple of weeks ago, at Crime and Publishment, I was introduced to Lucy Cameron. Lucy is a lot of fun and I really enjoyed her company throughout the weekend.
Born in London and having lived in South Wales, Liverpool, York and Nottingham, Lucy currently lives in a shed in her dad’s garden in Scotland where she wears thermals for warmth and writes by candlelight.
Thanks to Lucy for contributing to the blog!
Thursday 10th March 2016 was a night of firsts. It was the first ever Noir at the Bar in England, held at the Moo Bar in Carlisle. It was also my first ever invite to read at such an event alongside top name authors – No pressure there, then!
Noir at the Bar originates from America and made its UK debut in Scotland last year. The premise is simple and splendid. Crime writers and readers get together and selected writers are given a five-minute slot to read. Anyone and everyone is welcome. Who wouldn’t want to attend an event that combines crime writing and beer?
‘Crime Ink Corporated’ have now brought the event to England. Matt Hilton, Graham Smith and Mike Craven were our gracious hosts for the evening and from the offset made the atmosphere relaxed and welcoming.
I arrived in Carlisle at about 4pm and headed to The Crown and Mitre for a pre-event drink followed by a Nando’s, as you do. Then it was time to head to the venue, with the nerves starting to mount.
The Moo Bar was great location for England’s first ever Noir at the Bar, being big enough not to feel too crowded, but small enough to be intimate. By the time I arrived at 6.30pm, a crowd had already gathered and settled into the bar. All of the invited reader’s names were put into a hat (David Mark’s hat, no less) to be drawn at random by members of the audience.
David Mark was first to take to the mic claiming the accolade of being the first ever reader at Noir at the Bar in England. David read from his latest book and captivated the crowd from the offset.
Every time a hand went into the hat I held my breath wondering if I would be next, but Jay Stringer completed the first half with a darkly amusing short story and poem that gave me chills. That’s some first half to follow.
The crowd were receptive and supportive and keen to listen to the variety of work the readers presented. The second half rolled around quickly and my name was first out of the hat. Matt Hilton helped calm my nerves with a humorous introduction. And I was off. And I loved every second of it.
Tess Makovesky was next, and like myself was asked to read having been a success story of Graham Smith’s Crime and Publishment Crime Writing weekend. We have both gained publishing deals through contacts made at this excellent weekend with books due to be published later this year.
James Hilton and Paul Finch followed, their readings holding the attention of the audience. Yet again I heard people saying how different all the readings were and how much they were looking forward to reading the books of those speaking.
Then it was time for the wild card. The wild card was open to any writers in the room who dared to pop their names in a hat (or in this case, a pint glass) and be drawn at random to read. Linda Wright was drawn and rounded off the night perfectly.
For me the whole event was like realising one of my dreams, to be asked to read on a bill with authors I admire and look up to. Yes, I was very nervous but the support from my fellow writers and the audience helped no end. It was also a fantastic chance to make new friends and catch up with old ones. Would I do it again? In a shot. A huge thank you to the organisers and everyone I met who made the night so wonderful, and to everyone I didn’t meet but that was in the room making the event so special, I look forward to seeing you all again soon.
My final words? Get to the next Noir at the Bar event, you won’t be disappointed.