Saturday, 16 May 2009

Crimefest 2009 - Part 2

I fully intended to post last night, but the spirit was willing but the mind was certainly not. This is what will happen to you when you decide to roll into bed around 2:00am in the morning. Anyway, day 2 of Crimefest was certainly very enjoyable from my point of view. One of the things that I have learnt over the years is that always make sure that you have a good breakfast because you never know here your next meal is going to come from.

My day started when I went down for breakfast and joined Ali Karim and Mike Stotter. It is always nice to spend time with both of them and those of you that know Ali know how enthusiastic he is. My first chore of the day was trying to work out which panel to attend. This is always fraught with danger as there will no doubt be at some stage two panels that you would like to go to at the same time. At least this year it was only two track and not three.

The first panel that I managed to attend was Foreign Correspondent: Books in Translation. The panel members were Don Bartlett who is best known for translating the Jo Nesbo novels and those of KO Dahl, Reg Keeland (aka Steven T Murray) who has translated such authors as Henning Mankell, Karen Alvtegen and Camilla Lackberg. He is however best known for translating the bestselling novels of Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy. Tiina Nunnally whom one can say started the ball rolling with books in translation when she translated Peter Hoeg's best selling novel Similla's Sense of Snow under the name Felicity David. One of the things that Tiina Nunnally revealed was that as much as she enjoyed the book she herself was puzzled by the ending. Ros Schwartz who co-translated the 2008 CWA International Dagger Award winning novel Lorraine Connection by Dominique Manotti. Given the state of publishing today it was not surprising to learn that some European translators especially in Scandinavian work in much better conditions than those in some other countries. There was a lively discussion on various topics which included how they decided what books to take on, who had the final say when it came to the translations and how they went about doing the translations i.e. did they read the books the whole way through first of all or did they just jump in and start translating.

The second panel that I attended was Crack-up: Lighter than Noir and with Simon Brett as the participating moderator is was always bound to be an interesting panel. The panel members were Ruth Dudley Edwards, Kaye C Hill and Hakan Nesser. Unfortunately Bill James has had to withdraw from the conference due to a family problem. However, his place was ably taken by L C Tyler whose debut novel The Herring Seller's Apprentice was one of my favourite books last year.

One of the panels that I was very much looking forward to was the one where John Harvey and Bill James were due to be interviewed by Paul Johnston. Since Bill James was unable to be at the conference this week end Paul Johnston ended up interviewing John Harvey by himself. It was a good interview and John started off the interview by talking about how much he enjoyed Bill James's books. John Harvey has been writing for such a long time and he is best known for his excellent Resnick and Frank Elder series. His latest novel is Far Cry and it marks the publication of his 100th book.

The final panel that I attended on Friday was another interview. This time the Toastmistress Meg Gardiner was interviewed by Zoe Sharp who is the author of the excellent Charlie Fox series. Meg Gardiner novel China Lake recently won the 2008 Edgar Award for Best Paperback novel and her first novel in her new series featuring Jo Beckett a San Francisco forensic psychiatrist won the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best Procedural Novel of 2008. It was a laid back and funny interview with Zoe Sharp covering a wide range of topics including my favourite the time when Meg as a young girl went along for a Citizen on Patrol trip with her local police and found herself in the middle of a possible hold-up!

Creme De La Crime which is an independent publisher of crime fiction also hosted a drinks party to celebrate the launch of their anthology Criminal Tendencies. It is a great collection of Short stories for a great cause - National Hereditary Breast Cancer Helpline with a portion of the price gong towards it.

Dinner again was a lively affair as I ended up going for dinner with the Special Guest Maxim Jakubowski and his lovely wife, Peter Gutteridge and of course Ali Karim and Mike Stotter. It was very relaxed, very funny and I can only say that Ali never ceases to amaze me. After a leisurely dinner along the Bristol Harbour we all wandered back to the hotel where we proceeded to spend the evening at the bar chatting and meeting up with old friends.

Since I did not manage to post this yesterday, I am now running late and have to go off, have some breakfast and make my way down to the panel's. I am not sure which one I am going to go to first of all but I do know that I am going to enjoy myself again today. This evening Constable and Robinson are hosting their author's party prior to the Gala Dinner. I am still not sure what I am going to wear. Is it going to be the black dress or the purple one? I'll let you know tomorrow!

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