The 6th annual Bristol UK’s CrimeFest 2013 has come and gone. And a great time was absolutely had by all.
I attended this year, along with some 500 other authors and fans, and it was well worth the time and expense to network with fellow writers and mystery fans throughout the United Kingdom.
The Bristol Marriott Royal, next door to the historic Bristol Cathedral, hosts the conference. Headliners of this year’s gathering were Robert Goddard, the creators of BBC’s Sherlock series – Mark Gattis, Steven Moffat, and producer Sue Vertue – and Lincoln Rhyme's creator Jeffery Deaver.
While exceptions are made, authors basically need a UK publisher to earn a spot on the panels. I sat on two: “From Ancient to Modern: Travelling Through Crime & Time” moderated by NYT bestselling author Ruth Downie and “Research: When Can You Get Too Much Of A Good Thing?” led by award-nominated author Zoe Sharp.
The panels were informative and free-wheeling, although slanted as one would expect to the British crime market. Attendees saw discussions such as “Christie vs Conan Doyle, Who Rules?” and “Too Much Sex and Violence: British Crime Film,” with Barry Forshaw, author of a pair of books on British crime writing. One of my favorites was “The Tourist Board Never Said Anything About This!”, a consideration of mystery series set in such exotic locales as Botswana (Michael Stanley) and Iceland (Quentin Bates.)
While there was a good showing by U.S. authors such as Deaver and Jeffrey Siger, it provided me a chance to meet and to get to know U.K. authors like Jane Finnis, author of the Aurelia Marcellus mysteries set in 1st century Roman Britain, and the delightful Hanna Jameson, one of the youngest authors there with a new novel, Something You Are, first in the London Underground series, just recently been released in the U.K. and in the Netherlands as well.
What came home to me was that there is a great body of mystery writing out there that we don’t get exposed to so much in the U.S. And it really is a shame. If you’re a mystery fan and have the time and the money, the 7th CrimeFest will be 15 – 18 May 2014; if you attend, you won’t be disappointed.
When Tony Hays isn’t traveling the world, teaching students, and adopting puppies, he takes time out to write the Arthurian Mystery series from Tor/Forge.
See all posts by Tony Hays for Criminal Element.