The Harrogate Shout Out

Jane Isaac, me & hubby

It appears I only have one photo from the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival, and that was taken by Jane Isaac’s lovely hubby – it was great meeting you, Jane!

The weekend was a whirlwind of (too much) sunshine, (too much) drinking, (mammoth) chatting and and (copious) laughter, scandal, intrigue, and most importantly, catching up with old friends and new…

But we did manage to fit in a few of the events too…

The opening night party – where Ruth Rendell enthralled with her tale of getting published in the 60s with a £75 advance, Denise Mina winning the crime novel award for the second year running… followed by a little old lady falling right into the crime scene outline outside the front door. This was followed up by a conversation with James Oswald about shotguns and lambing, while another unfortunate ended up in an ambulance after falling over ‘like a tree’ (according to Mark Edwards) and hitting his head on the floor. But what’s a crime festival without a bit of blood? (note: I am assured the victim is FINE).

This was also the night we met up with a trillion others… Mel Sherratt, Rebecca Bradley, Dave Jackson, Cath Bore, Pam McIllroy, Octavia Grey, Helen Cadbury, Mari Hannah & Mo, Julian Cole… Steve Mosby, Luca Veste (big hugs!)… and of course my lovely agent, Phil, who I hugged too many times to count. We also had a very late night chat with Simon Kernick and top bloke (and agent-mate) Tom Wood (what happens in Harrogate, stays in Harrogate…)

Friday brought the typically controversial Social Media panel, chaired by Mark Billingham, where a certain sockpuppeter was discussed (and in a stunning twist, *defended* by a man in the audience who seemed to believe that the victims of a certain author’s online harrassment were in fact making it all up… hmm…). Later brought a last-minute stand-in performance from Peter James, chatting to NJ Cooper about his latest book, which *ahem* features ‘PC Susi Holiday’… (slightly desperate) not to miss out on a chat with the man himself, I did actually *run* down the driveway to catch him before he headed back to Brighton as part of his 12h round trip.

On Saturday, after very little sleep in a boiling bedroom, we somehow managed to get up for the 9am red-eye session – Ian Rankin and the legendary William McIllvanney (who, according to our new friend from Lichtenstein that we met later, was ‘quite difficult to understand’) – telling us how he fell out with Sean Connery, and humbly expressing that he had no idea how influential he was in the world of ‘tartan noir’… Later on was Val McDermid’s New Blood panel, which provided four new names to look out for, including the fabulous Anya Lipska (who I tried to poison with a ropey sandwich recommendation).

Saturday night was the late night quiz, and our team featuring Lisa Gray & Dan, Annie Dyer & Chris, Kevin Bourke & his lovely toe-broken missus and the very entertaining Martyn Lewis – did surprisingly well, coming in joint second in the ‘non-professional’ category. Unbelievably, we fell down on the beer tasting round…

Other highlights include chats with: James Law the submariner (Deliver!), Sarah Hillary (It rubs the lotion on its skin…), Sarah Pinborough (her distorted face was #5 in the quiz photo round – frightening!), Stav Sherez, Chris Ewan, Dean, Alison and Darryl, Mark Edwards and Louise Voss (plotting!), Eva Dolan (*sandwichgate*), Joanna Penn, Kevin Wignall, David Mark, Jamie-Lee Nardone, Col Bury (‘Do you know who I am?’ ‘No, do you know who I am?’), Graham Smith, Michael Malone, Craig Robertson, Russell McLean… and many, many others that I have forgotten and will no doubt be very offended (so many faces, so little memory…)

There are also TOO many people that I didn’t manage to catch up with, so next time I am taking a list and I will tick it off as I go, sort of like a Crime-Chat Bingo…

Big Thanks to the Old Swan hotel and the festival organisers, including festival chair, Val McDermid, for another brilliant weekend – roll on next year – can’t wait to hear who/what 2014 festival chair, Steve Mosby has in store…

…but sadly, it definitely won’t be Stephen King (busy man, apparently) 🙂

7 thoughts on “The Harrogate Shout Out

    • I think it has to be done! You see so many people, then you don’t always get a chance to talk, thinking you’ll see them later, then…. aaargh!! Looking forward to seeing you next time!

  1. Pingback: Old Peculiar crime writing festival Harrogate 2013

  2. Every time I think of the festival it makes me smile. And you had so much more fun than me! Next year…

  3. Pingback: Harrogate Happenings 2014 | One Word At A Time

  4. Pingback: Old peculiar crime writing festival Harrogate 2013 | Alison Gray

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