Monthly Archives: July 2009

Harrogate Crime Writing Festival

It’s always a hoot – and this year was no exception. I hesitate to say that it was all the usual suspects, but there they were – Laura Wilson who faultlessly organised the whole shebang, Val McDermid who first set it all up, Natasha Cooper who can do no wrong , Mark Billingham (getting an award, of course), the on-page terrifying Stuart MacBride down from the bothy, Laura Lippman over from Baltimore, Simon Kernick up from town, writers, agents, publishers and pr people all over the place. And that was just the first night party.
Five of us at least kept our heads clear for the Friday panel, Digging UpThe Past – with Mark Mills in the chair and doing a darn good job. He floored me by remembering my last stage performance at university, playing Abelard in Abelard and Heloise. I haven’t thought about it in years, but of course Abelard ended where Yashim began, as a eunuch. How I roared on stage as the knife came down! That’s good acting for you.
Fascinating panel – Ariana Franklin and Caro Peacock with their immaculately researched mediaeval mysteries and Giles Brandreth with Oscar Wilde as his sleuth. All of them very funny and revealing, so I imagine the huge audience enjoyed the hour as much as I did.
I wish I could have stayed on: so many good panels and specials, but I had to thunder south to another festival – one I could take my children to, in a tent. In Harrogate there’s no messing about under canvas; it’s more in the bar.