Sunday, June 02, 2013

Crimefest 3: Denise Mina and the concomitant wank

Everything's coming up roses
Speaking on Crimefest 2013's third day, French crime writer Pierre Lemaître called the relationship between author and reader a contract.

What, I asked, does the reader owe the author in such a contract?

"Suspension of disbelief," Lemaître said.

What do you think? After a reader has plunked down the price of a book, what does he or she owe the author?

Saturday's Books to Die For panel had Declan Burke quizzing four of the authors who contributed essays to Burke and John Connolly's Books to Die For. Two of the panelists offered insight into why they began writing. Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, who started her writing career as an author of children's books, said she did so because:
"This was a time when children's books had to teach you something. The parents were alcoholic or they wouldn't let you have a birthday party. They were so depressing."
And Northern Ireland's Colin Bateman talked about an animus against Northern Irish writing that seeped into his early aspirations:
"I think it's that if you grew up in Northern Ireland, you're ashamed of it. I didn't want to write the great Northern Ireland novel, I wanted to write the great American novel, because I thought everything in America was better."
Finally, Denise Mina, asked by interviewer Jake Kerridge to explain her early admiration for fellow interviewee William McIlvanney, said: "I used to work in the pub where he drank." When she decided to be a writer, Mina said:
 "I didn't want to do the concomitant wank, and William was a normal person."
Another remark of Mina's formed a nice elaboration of her discussion of the working class and writing at Bouchercon 2010 in San Francisco. I'll tell you about it after breakfast.

© Peter Rozovsky 2013

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