For the last in my series of posts about Crimefest, I’d like to reflect on the appeal of crime fiction conventions, perhaps especially for the benefit of any readers of this blog who have not attended such a convention, and wonder whether they would enjoy such an event, or whether they would feel a bit isolated.
My first crime convention was 20 years ago this autumn – the Bouchercon that was held in London. At the time, I had not enjoyed any success whatsoever as a crime writer, although I had joined the Crime Writers’ Association on the strength of writing and reviewing about the genre. I knew a few of those who attended, but not many. However, it was an eye-opening experience. Among many others, I got to meet Patricia D. Cornwell, who had just published her first novel, Maxim Jakubowski, Geoff Bradley of CADS and the great Golden Age expert Tony Medawar. I’m still in regular contact with Maxim, Geoff and Tony – not Patsy Cornwell, though, alas!
The event was so much fun – even for someone who is not naturally very sociable, like me - that I was hooked, and since then I’ve attended conventions in various different parts of the UK, as well as at Toronto, Seattle, Philadelphia, Las Vegas and Washington. I don’t claim that every event has been perfect, but each time I have met pleasant people for the first time, and had the chance to renew existing friendships. As well as to talk crime long into the night with like-minded people on countless occasions. Can’t be bad, can it?
And here are some photos from Crimefest featuring some of those people whose company I've shared with such pleasure. The first photo shows me with Mike Stotter, editor of that great online magazine Shots, followed by blogger Peter Rozovsky, top crime fiction guru and reviewer Ali Karim, and finally the Monkey Coalition pub quiz team: Carol, Ann, Karen, Cath, me and Rik. Photos courtesy of Ali, Mike and Karen.