Friday, 15 May 2015

CrimeFest 2015 Day 1 Part 1

Copyright Ayo Onatade
So CrimeFest has started today and as usual I shall be doing by usual blogging and tweeting as much as possible.  Also for those of you that have followed me over the years will remember that my blog posts from CrimeFest tend to be a mixture of what is happening in the panels and whatever takes my fancy.  So sit back and enjoy.  If you want to follow what is happening at CrimeFest on Twitter then they are using CrimeFest15.

So what has happened so far? 

The trip down was non-eventful. It was however lovely to bump into the lovely Daniel Gedon from Goldsboro books on the train.  Our arrival at Bristol was enlivened by the fact that it was pouring with rain.

It was lovely to see so many people on arrival at the hotel. Unfortunately I missed the first panel, which was Debut Authors: An Infusion of Fresh Blood, which featured Tom Callaghan, Jason Hewitt, S J I Holiday, Cal Moriarty, and M P Wright and moderated by Jake Kerridge.  It wasn’t done on purpose but I was waiting for my room to be ready.

I did however attend the panel A Woman in a Man’s World that had Ray Celestin, MJ McGrath, Helen Giltrow and William Shaw as panel members and MR Hall as the participating moderator.  This was a very interesting panel and the various comments from the panellists made for a lively debate.  It was interesting to hear from the panellists about their views. One of the things that Ray Celestin stated was that when he was writing his female character he did not want to be seen as sexist when it came to his character.  Furthermore, he chose a female as his third main character as he felt that it was a good idea.  The added problem was that not only was she not allowed to join the police because she was African American.  She was allowed to do menial work.  This is the reason why she joined the Pinkertons instead.  William Shaw also pointed out that for him the problem arose from the fact that he was writing a female character before feminism took root. M J McGrath explained that the inspiration for her main character Edie was from a true-life person who was a small Inuit woman. MR Hall stated that initially his main character was male but he decided that he wanted to write an emotional book hence the reason why he decided to change his main character to female.  In the case of Helen Giltrow she explained that her main female character was created by accident.  She literally took over as the book was been written.  She had initially wanted to write a book with a male hero.  One of the questions that was raised was whether or not women were a lot more interesting as lead characters in crime fiction.  According to MJ McGrath women have a lot more things to struggle with including for example childcare.  As William Shaw explained crime fiction was seen to be a man’s world.  On the other hand, MJ McGrath felt that crime books were all about character and psychological novels are being dominated by women – better known as Domestic Noir.  Both Helen Giltrow and MJ McGrath would have liked to have seen and read Before I Go To Sleep, with a male protagonist.  They also felt that it would also be interesting to read a novel about sexual assault by a woman to a man.  MR Hall also wondered if we expected our female lead characters to be heroic and if there was an actual reason for them to be heroic or an interest in them being so.  It was felt that there was a great tradition of men being the anti-hero but not women.  Ray Celestin however pointed out that we were starting to see women as anti-heroes.  But it was also felt that we expect different things from our male and female heroes.

Some of the other issues that were raised in the panel were whether or not male and female readers got the same from a book or were they looking for different things. Furthermore, it is impossible for women to read violence the same way as men.   It was also felt that women readers were a lot more judgmental about female characters than men.  It was noted that women are by far the largest readers of crime fiction.

More to follow…….

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