Sunday, May 24, 2015

Crimefest report, Part I

Nelson's Column, Trafalgar Square,
London. Nelson was once a 
but he decided he wanted to stop
working without, however,
giving up a paycheck. (All
photos by your humble blogkeeper.

Explanation for the newspaper
humor in the caption and the 
lede first paragraph available
 on request.)
Random thoughts and facts without having to worry about coherence. Not that it really matters, but here are some aperçus upon my return from Crimefest 2015, Bath, and London.
Gunnar Staalesen
John Lawton spent just a day at Crimefest, but he offered the welcome news that another Frederick Troy novel is on the way, probably in 2017, and that his next novel, a sequel to the non-Troy Then We Take Berlin, will include a cameo appearance by Troy. The Troy books are the models of how to write fiction about recent history, and how to do so with humor, wit, and bite.
K.T. Medina
Kati Hiekkapelto
For some reason, I met more authors and other people new to me at this Crimefest than ever before, including folks with whom I had worked or corresponded for years without, however, meeting them in person. Grouped by the language families of which their native tongue is a member, beginning with Finno-Ugric, these included Kati Hiekkapelto, Alan Carter, Alex Shaw, Craig Sisterson, Karen Sullivan, Steve Cavanagh, Louise Phillips, Sheila Bugler, Craig Robertson, Alexandra Sokoloff, Ewa Sherman, Jackeeta MT Collins, Paul Gitsham,  Kate Lyall Grant, Anthony QuinnHans Olav Lahlum,  and at least one person, I believe from the north of England, whose name slips my mind at the moment, for which I apologize.  These meetings are what makes festivals so much fun.
Peter Guttridge, Ali Karim
James Runcie's speech at the festival's gala dinner was funny, barbed, and tailored precisely to his audience. Runcie made a game of it, reading a series of sentences from either crime novels or books that had won the Man Booker Prize, then asking the audience to guess into which category each example fit. All I can say is that some of those Booker winners should never, ever show their faces in public again, at least not if using the names under which they write.
Ragnar Jonasson,
who was not one
of the two 
warring authors

The heated exchange at the bar between two authors who set their books in two countries in a state of conflict in the real world. Each hotly defended the country where he sets his novels, citing history recent and more remote.  War on a smaller scale was averted only when one of the authors tactfully retreated behind the line of conflict, leaving me to quiz the other on history going back a thousand years. Neither author is from the country where he sets his books, and I would guess their passion reflects the depth of their devotion to their subjects.
Ruth Dudley
Robert Olen Butler
Separate political discussions with Ruth Dudley Edwards and Yrsa Sigurdardottir at the same hotel bar including bracing statements by each that I might not have expected from individuals of their political persuasions.

Barry Forshaw, Antonia Hodgson,
Simon Toyne,
 Peter Guttridge
Maj Sjöwall, Lee Child
Such surprises go a small way toward restoring my faith in humanity. It was also nice to see Yrsa win the festival's Petrona Award for best Scandinavian crime novel, for The Silence of the Sea. Yrsa has been pleasant company at many conventions, and Maxine Clarke, for whom the award is named, left the first comment ever at Detectives Beyond Borders.

Selfie outside the hotel where I expect
to return next year for my sixth Crimefest.

© Peter Rozovsky 2015

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Blogger seana graham said...

So nice to see Maxine Clarke's comment there as well as to hear of her honored at Crimefest. I never knew her, but I saw her pop in from time to time at various blogs I liked. I see the Celtic Kagamusha was an early commenter too.

I think you have captured Lee Child in one of the few photos that shows him as anything other than dignified and reserved, though he seemed a nice man when I briefly met him.

Great selfie. Wouldn't it be cool if THAT ended up on the cover of something or other?

May 24, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yes, Lee Child has that rocky, craggy look. You'd imagine him to be strong and silent.

One nice moment at Crimefest was Lee Child sitting in the bar of the hotel lobby one afternoon, sipping his tea quietly, in a roomful of people who knew who he was but did nit disturb his rest.

And yes, it would be cool to get credit as photographer and model for the same photo.

May 24, 2015  
Blogger seana graham said...

I thought he was very obliging and made himself available at Long Beach, which wasn't something you would have guessed from his demeanor.

May 24, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

He has held open bars at several Bouchercons. From what I can tell, he does seem to be something of a fellow who started out scuffling and scrambling as a writer and has not forgotten his roots.

I never read his work until a story of his appeared in Belfast Noir and liked it. Since his stories are set in the United States, where he now lives at least most of the time, and since I a probably a bit of a snob of about authors who sell fantastically well, I have never read any of his novels. But one of the new authors I met at Crimefest is a big Lee Child fan, so I got the lowdown on which books I should read first, and I may just take the plunge. Also, Stuart Neville, whose judgment I respect, said that Child's story in Belfast Noirwas the cleanest piece of copy he had ever read. That wind him points with me.

May 24, 2015  
Blogger seana graham said...

I should read one of the books as well. I heard him interviewed on my friend's radio show here once and he does seem to be pretty serious about the work. I think what criticism I've read has been about it being a long series which may have grown a bit formulaic, and that Jack Reacher is a bit larger than life. But neither of those things do I tend to mind if it's fun and well written. If you get tired of a series, you can always stop reading it.

May 24, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The formula is intriguing enough to make me want to try the series. And here's a photo by the ubiquitous Ali Karim of me and Lee Child at Crimefest.

May 24, 2015  
Blogger seana graham said...

A nice picture of you both.

May 24, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I will make that man a star.

May 24, 2015  

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