I've been reading Pari's discussion about the dream conference, and it leads me neatly into something that's currently on my mind: Harrogate. On the plus side, it's just down the road. On the downside, I may well end up there on my own, at least at the start. So... never having been to one of these before, I'm after some advice. Is it a 'jolly' or is it worthwhile, careerwise? (Not that there's anything wrong with just having fun!) Is it advisable to attend the whole thing, or is there a 'best' day? Have you been? Are you going? What do you think?

I'll stop shining the light in your eyes now - interrogation over. All comments gratefully recieved, though.

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It's well-worth the visit. I've been to the last two and thoroughly enjoyed myself. If you had to choose a day to go, then Saturday is your best bet. But if you could attend from Friday through to Sunday - go for it. It's very a very sociable affair, with much drinking at the bar.

Check out their website and decide who you want to see. This year, amongst otherrs, there's
Lee Child
Freddie Forstyh
Peter Temple

It's worth the craic.

Mike
I'd say it's definitely worthwhile - if you're a writer, you get to hang out with all the cool kids, and if you're a reader, you get to hang out with all the cool kids too. It's probably the most open and friendly festival around.

The days are all different. I was going to recommend being their for the Saturday, as the quiz is great fun. But then there's the game show thing on Friday - that's good too. And the opening party on Thursday...

The first time I went I was on a panel. The second time I went as a punter, because I'd enjoyed it so much. And this year I'm moderating a panel. But even if I wasn't, I'd still be going.
Thanks, folks, your comments are really helpful. It must be good if you keep on going back!

I have to say, I am inclined to go. I just need to justify the time and the cost - but only to me. I'm relieved to hear that it's a sociable affair, especially since I might be on my tod (although hopefully not!). Looks like I'll see you at the bar... I'll be the star struck one clutching a pint.
I'm biased because I was the programming chair for the first three years of
Harrogate, but I think it's the best festival around. Great panels -- I've learned
stuff every year, even if it's only that male crime writers have very strange ideas
about the function of irons. It's also very sociable -- writers mix with readers,
with editors, with agents, with journalists. It's very inclusive, and it is the place
to be. I'll be there again as a guest, but even if I wasn't, I would be there anyway.
Thanks, Val, that's another resounding vote in favour. I certainly have a lot to learn - and I've just done something dodgy with an iron in a short story I'm busy finishing off, so I should fit right in. I'd better get booked up!
Hi Julie - first of all to reassure you that you won't be on your own - just go up to anyone whose name you recognise! I'm going. I didn't make it last year. I have to say that, as a mrere reader, I didn't find it quite as friendly as some other conventions I've been to. On the whole everyone is very friendly, but I had a couple of negative experiences that made my first one not quite so much fun!

There are some real bonuses with Harrogate - such as the evening events which are great and the panels are always good. Most definitely worth going to.

I wish they had name badges - for us non writers it makes it much easier to spot fellow readers and chat. I shall look out for you. You should be easy to spot with the Betty Boop get up!
Hi Donna - I'll see you there, looking forward to it! We'll have to synchronise watches or something nearer the date. And there's no such thing as a mere reader - writers depend on us.
Like Mike, I've been twice Julie and I highly recommend it. It's worthwhile as a writer, definitely. It's very easy to meet people. Just last week I had an email from an author who said, "I don't know if you remember me but I met you at Harrogate..." It's still the best con I've been to.

And this week in Spinetingler I have the current program chair, Natasha Cooper, sharing insights about the plans for this July. I shall be sad to miss it this time.
Sandra, if it's been worth your while to go there twice from where you live, I reckon I'd be foolish not to drive an hour and a half down the road! I'm off to check out Spinetingler - and I hope we get to meet at a future event. That would be cool.
Oooops, sorry, the new Spinetingler isn't quite up yet. Wednesday, I think. Depending on how things go tonight.

You could always come to Alaska this fall...
Alaska? Now that really would be cool!
That's right, a weekend in Anchorage with Sandra and yours truly! Oh, and I guess some other people will be there too.

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