The second annual CRIMEFEST is being held in Bristol from 14th to 17th May . Guests this year include Anne Zouroudi, Michael Walters, Zoe Sharp, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, Michael Connelly, Kate Ellis and Maxim Jakubowski, amongst others.
During a conversation with one of the organisors of Crimefest, I was interested to learn that although it is only the second Crimefest being held in the UK it is the organisors’ third event that they have had a hand in.
In 2006 Left Coast Crime – the massively popular US convention came to the UK for the first time. It too was held in Bristol as it could retain its title – that of Left Coast Crime. LCC organisers had spoken to Myles Allfrey and Adrian Muller (current co-hosts of Crimefest) and had their help in arranging this amazing event. The UK has never seen its like before and it made Myles and Adrian realise that there was a definite niche in the market for an event similar in shape and format.
In 2008 the first Crimefest was held to great acclaim. Authors from far and wide attended with tremendous support from publishers and the public. Here was a chance to mingle with your favourite authors, to listen to author and agent talks and interact with them on a levelled field. Like the US conventions there are a hand full of featured guest authors but all other authors who attend pay delegate fees.
This year’s Crimefest will run in a similar format with a Gala Dinner on Saturday evening with after-dinner speeches by all the featured guest authors, as well as winners of the Last Laugh and Audible Sounds of Crime Awards. Meg Gardiner will be in charge of the ceremonies.
Both Myles and Adrian are very much aware that there will be a large contingent of visitors from abroad and from the further-flung places within the UK, which is why they’ve come up with the idea of turning attendance to the Crimefest into a holiday. There are tips on what to do in and around the area both pre and post Crimefest. These tours are run by Tours of Discovery and they host tours to Stonehenge, Avebury, the beautiful village of Lacock (where bits of Harry Potter was filmed) and a walking tour of Bath.
For those aspiring authors attending there is a chance to attend the Crime Writing Workshop and to Pitch an Agent. If you are attending and you are interested, you have to make sure to register.
For the full line-up and further details visit www.crimefest.com.
(monstersandcritics.com, May 7, Elizabeth de Jager)