A day at CrimeFest 2015



On Saturday 16th May, Jane Isaac and I set off early really early  to spend the day in Bristol at CrimeFest 2015. This was my first time. And it was great!

Traffic was light, so the 140 miles or so flew by, and we arrived in time to grab a quick coffee and slice of toast at the cafe across the road.

Following registration – where we didn’t get cool CrimeFest lanyards (clearly reserved for full weekend attendees!) but rather, second class green badges :o( – the first panel we attended was Got Demons: Does A Crime Fiction Protagonist Need To Have Added Angst? with panellists, Matthew Frank, Dolores Gordon-Smith, Sarah Hilary, Fergus McNeill, and participating moderator, David Mark.

I know Sarah (although only online) so it was nice to finally meet and get her to sign my copy of No Other Darkness (which I reviewed back in January). A few of the panelists were very complimentary of Matthew Frank, so I’ll have to add his name to my TBR pile.

Got Demons Panel

Got Demons Panel: Fergus, Dolores, Dabid, Sarah & Matthew.

 Before we headed for the next panel, I spotted a photo opportunity I just couldn’t pass up. And here it is in two words: Lee Child.

Lee Child

Lee Child

Next up was the Mean Streets and Small Towns: Crime In City Or Countryside panel, with Paul Finch, S.J.I. Holliday, Ragnar Jónasson, Jake Woodhouse and participating moderator, Craig Robertson.

Mean Streets and Small Towns

Mean Streets and Small Towns: Craig, Paul, Ragnar, Jake & Susi.

It was great to support a friend, Susi (I reviewed her debut, Black Wood, in March), and to also be introduced to Icelandic author, Ragnar, who is a really interesting and likeable guy. We were both quick to buy his book, Snow Blind, and get it signed!

Ragnar & Susi

Ragnar & Susi

Next up for us was Gritty or Gratuitous? with Helen Fitzgerald, Nev Fountain, Felix Francis, Steve Mosby and participating moderator, Andrew Taylor. I went to see Twitter and FB friend, Steve Mosby (and thanks for signing The Murder Code for me, Steve!), but this was an odd mix of panel, and I can’t help think that Steve and Helen must have been a little bemused by it. Jane and I were!

Gritty Or Gratuitous panel: Nev, Felix, Andrew, Helen and Steve

Gritty Or Gratuitous panel: Nev, Felix, Andrew, Helen and Steve

Next we saw Maj Sjöwall interviewed by Lee Child. If you don’t know who Maj is, have a read of this Guardian article. Lee was clearly a fan, and Maj was both funny and lovely.

Lee Child interviews Maj Sjöwal

Lee Child interviews Maj Sjöwal

Final panel of the day was Writing the Thrills, with Dean Crawford, Felix Francis, Sheila Quigley, Manda Scott and participating moderator, Michael Ridpath.

Writing The Thrills: Michael, Dean, Sheila, Felix and Manda.

Writing The Thrills: Michael, Dean, Sheila, Felix and Manda.

Afterwards we went to the bar and caught up with friends, including Susi Holliday and her hubby, Louise Voss and her partner, Joanna Penn, and I managed a brief hello to Luca Veste.

All-in-all we had a great day, meeting some online friends, including Vicky Newham and Janet O’Kane, and me making some new ones, including Alison Gray and Dave Sivers.

And the 140-mile journey home? Well, that was interesting. Jane plugged her iPod into the car stereo and quizzed me on music from the eighties for pretty much the whole journey! I wasn’t quite as rubbish as I thought I’d be.

Thanks for a great day, Jane. And CrimeFest too!

Jane Isaac

Jane Isaac


About djpaterson

Reader, Writer, Arithmeticer. Not always in that order.
This entry was posted in Crime Fiction, Crime Writing, Writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to A day at CrimeFest 2015

  1. crimeworm says:

    Tell Jane if she wants to pick me up next year my specialist subject is 80s music….(worth a try!)

  2. Sarah Hardy says:

    so jealous, sounds like it was a brilliant day!

  3. Samantha Carr says:

    It was my first time at Crimefest too… and I had a cool a red lanyard (sorry) . It was – without a doubt – one of the best weekends ever! I look to forward to seeing you there next year!

  4. Great blogpost, I’m really sorry I missed it, but it’s interesting to hear how you got on. I have just one question. What was the general consensus on your first panel about the added angst? 🙂

    • djpaterson says:

      I’m thinking real hard and I’m not sure there was. There was plenty of chat about each of the authors’ protagonists’ baggage (did I get those apostrophes right?), and how they were generally introduced and handled in their books, but I don’t think there was a huge amount of discussion about how important to stories that baggage was. But that might be because I was having too much fun to remember!

  5. Thanks for putting yourself about a bit and providing an informative report for those of us that couldn’t attend.

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