(Cross-posted from Imaginary Friends blog)
This year was the first time I attended the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Conference at Harrogate (so called because it’s named after the beer brewed by the sponsoring brewery), and a last-minute decision to attend meant I got a day pass for the Saturday, even though the conference ran from Thursday to Sunday.
I probably did not go to quite as many of the panels as I should have done. It was a fine sunny day, and hanging out in the front terrace seemed to be the place to be to meet interesting people. I chatted with Mark Billingham about e-books. He came to speak to the writing group a few years ago and I’ve met him on a couple of other occasions – I was pleased he remembered me. He’s chairing next year’s festival and said he wants to have more of an emphasis on e-books. I shamelessly took the opportunity to tell him about mine.
But I could not sit in the sun indefinitely, and I did go to some panels. The one I enjoyed the most was called The Outer Limits, and dealt with the rising popularity of paranormal elements in crime – a subject close to my heart.
I’d also bought a ticket for the Criminal Consequences dinner, so I got to go to that too. For the uninitiated (and this might be a uniquely British thing), ‘consequences’ is a game you generally play at parties when you’re about 16. You write a boy’s name, then a girl’s name, where they met, what he said, what she said, and what happened at the end. After each ‘turn’ you fold the paper over and pass it on to the next person so they don’t know what you wrote when they write their answer. At the end you read out what you’ve got. The ‘criminal consequences’ game followed the same lines, except we were writing a crime story. We worked on our ‘story’ over dinner, and were told the best entry would win a prize.
Hubby had accompanied me to Yorkshire for the weekend, but was entertaining himself while I was at the festival (he’s not a big crime fan). He met me in the bar after dinner, and we sat outside on the terrace for rather a long time afterwards, talking to lots of interesting people. Rather longer than we were intending to, actually. Every time we were about to leave, we got talking to someone else.
I had a fab time, and my only regret is I didn’t go for longer. I intend to correct that next year. I have already marked the dates of next year’s conference in the diary.
I’ve already got a rather long list of conferences to attend in 2012. The hard part is going to be deciding which ones to attend. Finances won’t allow me to attend all of them.