I’m so overwhelmed by this weekend’s activities that I can’t even think of a witty title for this post.
Up until three or four weeks ago, I wasn’t planning on going to Theakston’s Crime Writing Festival this year. And then the stars aligned. My partners in crime (ahem) Jay Stringer and Graham Smith – organisers of Noir at the Bar Glasgow and Carlisle respectively – decided to throw a wee bash at Harrogate. How could I say no? For several days before the big event, I wished I had said no to the invitation to read from my novel Fix Me Up at Hales Bar alongside some impressive writers. However, I am so glad I did it. I got to be on the bill with Helen FitzGerald and Brooke Magnanti as well as my very good friend, Lucy Cameron.
My old pal Luca Veste hosted and thought up some brilliant intros. It was fantastic to be introduced by a man who gave me opportunities when I was just starting out. The readings at Noir at the Bar weren’t just dark, there was plenty of humour too. I loved Russel D. McLean’s reading and I thought Helen FitzGerald was bloody brilliant, her book Viral is the most thought-provoking book I’ve read this year, managing to combine a really serious issue with plenty of biting wit.
It really was something to see Hales bar packed out at the beginning of the festival – thank you to everyone who came.
Over the course of my time in Harrogate this year, I got a lot of great feedback following my reading at Noir at the Bar from people I really respect and admire . It made my weekend to have Steve Mosby and Helen FitzGerald (among others) tell me that they liked my reading. Several people compared my work to the great Irvine Welsh – I’m still speechless.
Meanwhile, back at the Swan…
Congratulations to Clare Mackintosh on her win for I Let You Go which won Crime Novel of the Year at the opening ceremony on Thursday evening. Her follow-up, I See You, was available at the festival on an exclusive pre-release and I’m really looking forward to reading it.
On Friday morning, I was up with the larks to see the man who inspired me to write crime fiction: Linwood Barclay. He was interviewed by Mark Bilingham – who later sang The Kinks’ Victoria to me in the signing tent – and, despite the early hour, the audience was thoroughly entertained. Although, I have to admit, I was too shy to ask Linwood for a picture which is something I shall always regret! The rest of the panels I saw were intriguing and left me brimming with ideas.
Due to work commitments, I left Harrogate on Saturday morning after a whirlwind of panels, familiar faces and new friends. On my drive home, I felt incredibly guilty for missing lots of people or not getting to chat as much as I would have liked but I know there’s always next year…