Saturday, 28 July 2012

Final Day of Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival and Reflections.

Sunday at Harrogate was rather quiet for not only me but also other members of the Shots Team.  Part of the reasoning for this was because most of us (i.e. Ali Karim, Mike Stotter and I) did not get back to where we were staying until 3:00am on Sunday morning!  As enjoyable as it is staying up late and chatting to people, it does throw a spanner in the works for later on in the day.

The result of getting to bed in the early hours of the morning meant that I missed 50 Different Words For Murder which was moderated by Barry Forshaw and featured authors Antonio Hill, Camilla Lackberg, Deon Meyer and Liza Markland.  The authors were discussing what, if anything is lost in translation, how much of their work is filtered or coloured by their translator and how much involvement do they have in their translations?  Having met Antonio Hill the night before at dinner and spending time talking to him I found myself very intrigued by his protagonist Inspector Hector Salgado, a detective with a complicated past, a tendency to violence, and a penchant for cinema.  The first book of his that has been translated is The Summer of Dead Toys.  Mike Stotter got to talk to Liza Markland at the same dinner but they (and I am sure that Mike will not mind me revealing this) hardly talked about books but instead talked about cooking and knitting!

The big event and the last panel on Sunday was special guest Jo Nesbø in conversation with BBC Radio 4 Front Row’s Mark Lawson.  Earlier this year the film Headhunters, which is based on the book of the same name by Jo Nesbø, was released in cinemas.  It was expertly transformed into a cool, brutal, deeply
Scandinavian thriller.  Sadly, but unsurprisingly I did not manage to get into the room for this.  This is not for lack of trying.  It was a testament to his success and how much the audience were looking forward to this that the event was packed and it was standing room only.  The queue to get into the room was out the door.  By all account, it was an absolutely brilliant interview and Nesbø spoke movingly about the Anders Behring Breivik mass killing event that took place last year and how it has affected everyone including writers.
© Ayo Onatade

So what did I do since I could not get into the Nesbø panel?  I used the opportunity to say goodbye to various people.  That was a long process indeed!  At Festivals like this, one does not just say goodbye!  I kept on getting stopped by various people who wanted to chat, make arrangements to meet up.  Actually, before I forget I have to say a big thank you to Ryan David Jahn who gave me a lovely bottle of wine just as I was leaving!


Harrogate was a blast!  The hard work that was put into it by the programming committee and Sharon Canavar along with Erica Morris was evident by the way in which it all ran smoothly.  Mark Billingham was an excellent Chair and the huge number of authors present (even those not on a panel) shows why this Festival constantly gets rave reviews.
I think that this year the most abiding memory for most people will of course be the eBook panel.  I am not really going to say much more about it because a lot has been said already online.  Most importantly, I managed to miss the panel.  I do however have some strong views about eBooks.  For the record, I don’t have anything against them.  They are not however my first choice when I am reading.  I am old fashioned to a certain extent when it comes to reading.  I prefer to hold a book in my hand.  I spend too many hours at the day job in front of a screen so I would rather not read a book on an e-reader and I also like the tactility of a book and turning over a page.  .  That said I can certainly appreciate the need for eBooks.  Whether or not it is true that Mark Billingham asked Stephen Leather to be controversial is a moot point.  What I have found galling is the fact that Mr Leather does not seem to want to appreciate other points of view.  He is also patronising and rude and in my opinion especially to females.  This is based not on what has been posted on blogs or tweeted by other people but sadly from the unfortunate but luckily, rather brief twitter conversation that I had with him as a result of me re-tweeting his response to the blog post at We Love This Book and saying and I quote “Hmm, Stephen leather has responded to the eBook talk at Harrogate.  Seems to be all about the money for him”.  His response should not have surprised me but luckily, for me someone specifically took him to task about his response.  More information about what actually happened at Harrogate can be found at The Left Room and in order not to appear to be, biased Stephen Leather’s own interpretation can be found here

The shortlist for the Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year was fantastic, but I was really pleased that Denise Mina won.  It was well deserved.

For me personally, getting the chance to hang out with friends and catching up with lots of people was bliss.

Aside from the above, Harrogate gave readers, fans and indeed other authors the opportunity to hang out and chat, catch up with what each other and generally let ones hair down. 

So what next for Harrogate in 2013?  It looks as if 2013 will be equally as good if not better.  It will have been a decade since the first festival and Val McDermid will be returning as Programming Chair. Next year the Festival will take place between 18-21 July 2013.  Some of the amazing treats that are already in place include Ruth Rendell being interviewed by Jeanette Winterson, Charlaine Harris, Kate Atkinson and Susan Hill. 

This is a Festival that should not be missed and I can’t wait to find out what else will be happening. 

1 comment:

Stephen Leather said...

Sorry if I seemed rude, Ayo. Seriously. Sometimes my sense of humour can be taken the wrong way. And banter on Twitter can sometimes be misconstrued. 140 characters is so short that it can come across as curt. And I tend to use 'honey' more than I should. I did enjoy meeting you and our brief chat. And really, if I offended you then I do apologise. And I do like women. More than men, generally. :-)