Thursday 5 July 2007

Newsy stuff

This will be the last blog I will file before heading off to New York for the second Internationl Thriller Writers convention, aka ThrillerFest. Of course, I'll be going with Ali "Snapper" Karim, and it's strange that we both hadn't been to the Big Apple for almost thirty years. I'm looking forward to meeting old friends and making new ones. I will be moderating a panel on the Saturday afternoon featuring Jeremiah Healy, Justin Scott, Don Bruns, Tina Wainscott and Rick Mofina on the subject of STRANGERS IN PARADISE: TOTING GUNS AND SUNBLOCK. Hmmm, and the UK has just had the worst weather for June since records started.

The film rights to John Burdett's BANGKOK 8 and his two subsequent police thrillers set in Bangkok, featuring Buddhist police detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep, in a new option to Millennium Films, with James McTeigue (V For Vendetta) directing. The books are published in the UK by Transworld.

Our old chum Simon Kernick has sold two new thrillers, the first featuring a kidnap-attempt gone badly wrong, to another of our old chums, Selina Walker at Transworld. By the time the new book comes out, he would be riding high on the success of the Richard and Judy Summer Read promotion. And he will be next year's Chairperson for the Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Festival to boot.

Michael Cordy's thriller THE SOURCE, about the surprise deciphering of the elusive Voynich manuscript at Yale's Beinecke Library by a young female professor, leading to the discovery of what seems to be a Garden of Eden deep in the jungles of Peru --and a fight between the Vatican and various scholars for possession of the secrets which the garden contains, has been picked up by Bantam UK.

We should pay crime writers more respect

The subject of book awards has always been a sore subject one for crime writers, many of whom have long nursed grudges against the bigger literary prizes. PD James and Ian Rankin have both complained that crime - not to mention other genre writing - is unfavourably overlooked in these matters. When he picked up his Nibby from Richard and Judy earlier this year, winning in the crime thriller category, Ian Rankin couldn't help but bring the issue up again. Look at the article and already the writer is alienating his audience in calling Rankin et al "crime writers". How would he categorise Salmun Rushdie or even Charles Dickens?

Guardian Blog
It is especially poignant on the day of the Duncan Lawrie Crime Writers' Association Daggers.The winners will be revealed tonight (5 July) at a black tie dinner at the elegant Four Seasons Hotel on Park Lane in London. The event will begin with a drinks reception at 6:30pm, followed by dinner in the ballroom at 7:45pm. Guest of honour will be Bob Marshall-Andrews, QC, MP. The winners will be announced after the dinner. It should be on the wire from 2300hrs tonight. And we will carry our usual photo shoot report.

But going back to the argument, it's hard to say just who is to blame. Elitism by the readers, publishers focusing their attention on the genre much in the same way that the UK library system categorise their books? Who knows? Does it really matter? Obviously it does to some people.

A few years back when Henning Mankell's Sidetracked won the Gold Dagger (as it was in old money), it started a simliar argument over translated books. Many author's had their noses put out of joint and created such a hue and cry that now the CWA has a separate award for a book in translation aka The Duncan Lawrie International Dagger.

In my opinion, a good book is a good book. Full stop.