I’ve attended the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival at Harrogate since its early days, and it’s invariably an entertaining event, enhanced by the fact that Harrogate in July is a very pleasant place to be. This year, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to arrive there until Saturday lunch-time, but despite that I had a thoroughly enjoyable time.
One of the great things about crime conventions is the chance they offer both to catch up with old friends and to make new ones; also, I tend to find, there may be one or two people whom one has bumped into briefly for years, but whom one manages to get to know rather better, and that’s always rewarding. I enjoyed lunch with a few friends from the CWA’s Northern Chapter, and during the day I came across Alanna Knight, a prolific Scottish crime writer who with her late husband Alistair was a stalwart of many CWA events. I’ve not seen her for two or three years and it was good to see her in fine form. I don’t think I’ve mentioned her work on this blog before, an omission I ought to repair. Her historical mysteries are well worth a look.
Needless to say, the Saturday night quiz was a highlight. I joined up with a team which rejoiced in the name of the BP Complaints Department. It included Zoe Sharp, and her husband Andy, Russell from Waterstones, Chris Ewan and L.C. Tyler. Some of the questions were really tough – a round on the subject of writers’ dogs had me baffled, for instance – but we did manage to come second. A real team effort, and very good company. Seeing Len Tyler was a bonus, as I’m reading his latest book at the moment, and he kindly inscribed it for me. A review will appear here in due course.
Among other nice things, Janet O’Kane, whom I’d previously only encountered via the blogosphere, came over to say hello. I hope that readers of blogs who encounter blog writers at conventions and other events will, equally, not be too bashful to introduce themselves. I’m sure that other writers, just like me, really value these personal contacts.