Saturday, 17 September 2011

Bouchercon Shifting into gear!

So the first two days of Bouchercon are over! It has been such good fun. The panels have had a constant buzz about then with a lot of the conversation spilling out onto the signings. The book room is also full. There were around 100 walk ins on Thursday.

The panel Passengers fasten your seatbelts…. was full but it was not unexpected since the panel was comprised of most of the guest of honours. It was a freewheeling panel, which was moderated by Oline Cogdill. It was also clear that all the panel members were not only got on well with each other but were friends as well. The questions were wide ranging and the one on where the authors got their inspiration from received the best response from them all especially Val McDermid’s explanation.

I also managed to attend the Unnatural Vices – Comics and Crime Fiction panel that was not only amusing but also interesting. The panel members were Max Allan Collins, Gary Phillips, Jonathan Stantlofer, Jason Starr and Duane Swierczynski who also moderated the panel instead of Cullen Bunn who unfortunately could not be there.

There were other panels that took place but unfortunately I was unable to attend some of them. The other big event that took place on Thursday evening was the opening ceremony and reception where the Macavity Awards and Barry Awards were to be given out along with a number of Crimespree Awards as well.

Crimespree Magazine awards that were given out were as follows –

Best First Novel- Do Some Damage by Hilary Davidson

Best Novel – Expiration Date by Duane Swierczynski

Ali Karim was also honoured as the first recipient of the David Thompson Award for Special Services. Luckily, I got to say a few words about him before he was given the award and it was quite nice to see him taken aback for a change. Congratulations Ali! The award was well deserved. The David Thompson Award for Special Services was named after the late David Thompson of Murder by the Book in Houston who was an enthusiastic and supportive about crime fiction author and everything about the genre.

The winner of the Barry and Macavity awards are as follows –

Barry Awards -

Best novel – The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton

Best first novel – The Poacher’s Son by Paul Doiron

Best British Novel – The Woodcutter by Reginald Hill

Best Paperback Original – Fever to the Bone by Val McDermid

Best Thriller – 13 Hours by Deon Meyer

Best Short Story – The List by Loren D Estleman

Congratulations to all the winners but especially to Val as this is her third Barry Award!

Macavity Award -

Best Mystery Novel – Bury your Dead by Louise Penny

Best First Mystery – Rogue Island by Bruce Da Silva

Best Mystery Non-fiction - Agatha Christie's Secret: Fifty Years of Mysteries in the Making by John Curran

Best Mystery Short Story – Swing Shift by Dana Cameron

Sue Feder Memorial Historical Mystery – City of Dragons by Keli Stanley.

Congratulations to all the winners!

After the ceremony Harper Collins publishers gave out copies of books of some of their authors. I got asked to help out and so I spent part of the evening helping Val McDermid and Laura Lippmann give out copies of their books to various people. Luckily for me despite the fact that I was busy working I managed to get hold of a copy of Laura Lippman’s new book The Most Dangerous Thing, Alafair Burke’s standalone novel Long Gone and Jonathan Hayes Novel A Hard Death.

I also managed to get away and attend the Atlantic Monthly Press and relaunch of The Mysterious Press cocktail party. I did not however stay up too late as I was due to be on a panel the following morning at 8:30am.

There has been such a buzz at Bouchercon and of course the bar has been full at all times. One cannot fully express how wonderfully run this convention has been. It has been superb. From the hospitality suite that is constantly in use to the large number of volunteers that are on tap to help out or answer questions, to the book room that is not only vast but also wants you to spend the whole day there. I can only say that Ruth and John Jordan along with Judy Bobalik have put on a wonderful event.

Friday morning started with a bang for me as I had a panel at 8:30am. However before then I attended the Librarian breakfast, which was held in the magnificent Crystal Ballroom on the 20th floor of the hotel. The event was hosted by the mid-western chapter of the MWA and had tables, which were sponsored by a number of authors. It was good way to start the morning and there were very few speeches. Colin Cotterill said a few words and Charlaine Harris gave a wonderful speech on her love of libraries and the books that influenced her.

My 8:30am panel was entitled Bad BloodCelebrating Agatha Christie. My fellow panel members were Carolyn Hart, G M Malliet and Val McDermid. The moderator was Ted Hertel. It was a good panel and a large number of people turned up to listen to us talk about all things Agatha Christie including her legacy, did we consider her to be a cosy writer? The answer was evidently not!, whether or not Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple were given an appropriate send off, we all thought that they had not. What did we think of her most controversial novel The Murder of Roger Ackroyd? Had she played fast and loose with the reader? What did we think of her two main characters? And of course what were our favourite novels or short stories by Agatha Christie? As can be expected we all trooped into the book room for signing and I was rather amazed to see that not only had a signing desk been allocated to me but I also had a number of people come up and ask me to sign their programme!

One of the off site events that had been arranged as part of Bouchercon was a charity bowling event that took place at the Flamingo Bowl. Everybody had a wonderful time and I was part of the Crimespree Wrecking crew. I understand that $500 was raised for the St Louis County Library. However as a result of this I had to miss a number of the interviews that were taking place at the same time and this included the Toastmaster Ridley Pearson being interviewed by Jeff Abbott and Robert Crais being interviewed by Gregg Hurwitz. One of the good things about this Convention however is the fact that all the panels are being recorded.

The Shamus Awards were also given out on Friday evening at a dinner that was held off site.

The Hammer Award – Sara Paretsky for V I Warshawski

Lifetime Achievement Award – Ed Gorman

Best Hardcover – No Mercy by Lori Armstrong

Best First Novel – In Search of Mercy by Michael Ayoob

Best Paperback – Asia Hand by Christopher G Moore

Best P I Short Story – The Lamb was Sure to Go by Gar Anthony Haywood.

One of the highlights of every Bouchercon is the live auction. This year so far over $17,000 was raised. The auctioneers for the event were Laura Lippman and Mark Billingham. The auction had been organised by Crimespree’s film and comic guru Jeremy Lynch who did a magnificent job. I mean who would not want mementoes from Robert Crais character Elvis Cole? The highlight of the auction was the $7,000 paid by Laura Lippman to be a named character in the final Sookie Stackhouse book by Charlaine Harris. She piped Karin Slaughter (who was voting by proxy) to the post.

Friday night at the movies was also arranged and the films that were shown included a documentary about Derrick Raymond and Salvation Boulevard by Larry Beinhart.

So what is up for the last full day of Bouchercon?

I have a panel at 11:30am which I am moderating. My panel members are Megan Abbott, Daniel Woodrell, Paul Dorion, Thomas H Cook and Paul Gaus. Sarah paretsky is going to be interviewed by Kevin Guilfoile and Val McDermid by Jen Forbus. For those that are a lot more energetic there will be a basketball game as well.

More later……

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