Monday, September 14, 2009

reading crime

Last Saturday, I travelled to Reading for the 2nd Reading Festival of Crime Writing held at the Town Hall. It was a very entertaining day (the actual festival runs from Friday to Sunday) and I attended three funfilled events:
  • Murder in Mind - panel event about the world of psychological crime fiction with Stephen Booth, Jane Hill and a number of others, including a fave of mind, R.J.Ellory. As always, he was a very interesting panel member with great insight and analysis of the topic, and talk of upcoming books and screenplays was food for his eager readers. I missed a chance to chat with Roger at Harrogate, so I made sure I caught him this time, albeit briefly on his way to his book signing and my way to:

  • John Harvey - solo event where John read from short stories, poems and his latest novel, and fielded questions from the audience in an entertaining and informative manner. Very enjoyable.

  • Mark Billingham and Chris Brookmyre - these two fantastic (and hilarious) authors rounded off the day with a session that ran for over an hour and included stand up, readings from their latest books (and in Mark's case, a sneak peek at his next book) and Q&A, including an unusual question first up about why Mark's beard keeps disappearing("It's called shaving!").

The Reading festival is a different beast to the Harrogate behemoth, but just as entertaining. It's smaller in scale with about a quarter of the amount of attendees, but this creates an intimate atmosphere, allowing for more questions and, in some cases such as the John Harvey event, a more free-flowing structure. The only downside I'd comment on is the lack of time between events, meaning book signings were not an option if you had back to backs to attend.

It's not completely different to Harrogate though, with the key similarities being the attendance of BTZ regulars (Alison, Sarah, Carol, Jez) and a quiet beer afterwards with our favourite authors.

Another festival for the diary!

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