It’s almost a month since my trip to London. It feels like yesterday.
Now that my head is out of bookish heaven and back on my head, let’s rewind and revisit Capital Crime’s First Edition!
What can you expect from this post? The aspiring publicist-publishing assistant’s view / the blogger’s take / the reader’s experience Things might overlap. After all, those four days were a whirlwind!
We can all agree that the project led by Adam Hamdy, David Headly, and Lizzie Curle was ambitious. Right from the beginning, when the word first came out, I had high expectations. London? Crime? An inclusive festival willing to open its door to different voices? Count me in!
I can’t begin this post without thanking Midas for inviting me to attend (a special mention to Georgina and Sophie, two women I admire and who have been so kind to me). This whole festival was made possible by the combined work of so many people. It is simply mind-blowing. From the behind-the-scenes to the panels, everything was organized in such a way that Capital Crime felt like a friendly reunion. This was not my first festival, but I totally recommend it if you have never been to an event and are looking for a place where a team is here to help you out, make you comfortable, and ensure you get the best of times!
(all pictures have captions!)
Despite having traveled all day, I was ready for the New Voices Awards presentation on Thursday night, and the event gave the tone of the entire festival. After a game of hide-and-seek around Pret a Manger with now real life friend Zoe (never use Pret as a meeting point… Lesson learned!) and our fabulous Danielle, I made it to the place everything would happen.
A beautiful venue that might have felt daunting hadn’t it been for the lovely faces of our Capital Crime volunteers! The Grand Connaught is impressive, and yet… It wasn’t. It fit the spirit of Capital Crime. A grandiose background to welcome Crime in its best outfit.
We were also lucky to be gifted filled totebags! (now proudly on one of my bookcase in my study! The bookworm in me almost let out a squeal, before remembering she’s 29 and needs to look like an adult if she ever wants to make it into publishing, haha!)
The festival really started with a bang with the New Voices Awards. Encouraging new talents and offering the opportunity for more crime to get out into the world was a truly brilliant idea and the will to make room for everyone, not just big names, could be felt during the entire festival. This is something that struck me and will stay with me. Remember, it’s London, it’s a huge festival, and … We get to know more people, we get to discover names, we got to vote! Involving attendees this way made us feel like a part of Capital Crime from the very beginning.
Congratulations to Ashley Harrison!
Now, let’s talk about the program. Four days. Dozens of names. Two rooms. I had never wished I could be at two places at the same time! Choosing which panels or events to attend was torture! I built my schedule based on authors I couldn’t miss, my friends’ choices, what I wanted to cover on the blog, and frankly, whatever I felt like going to. Why? Because I quickly realized that no matter where I’d be, I would not be disappointed! When you can choose between amazing and awesome, where’s the risk? Here’s a picture of my Friday!
Again, how did they manage this? My head was all over the place just looking at the page, so imagine organizing it?! I only live-tweeted and networked and I was exhausted!!!
My day began with Agatha Christie because isn’t she the queen? I learned so much about her work, her inspiration. It is crazy to think there’s always something more to discover. The panel was full of great analyses and facts. I was overwhelmed by the need to tweet to share and the urge to just focus on what was happening!
Here’s some of the things you could have heard on Friday morning!
Why is Agatha Christie so popular now?
« For many of us, she is one of the first crime writer and grown-up author we read. Also she is also the first English writer foreigners read because of her readability factor »
« Christie was interrogating the stereotypes with her characters »
I moved on to my second panel of the day, CRIME ON A GLOBAL SCALE. Although I really wanted to grill Mark Billingham, I’ve always been interested in how crime allows readers to discover a place and people, and how a location affects a novel.
So, one of our authors gets his ideas in the sauna! With such a title, you might think this panel would be dead serious (see what I did there?) but it turned out to be one of the funniest!
« When writing about a location, we talk about the people who create the location. Their language, their culture »
I picked this quote because this is exactly what I look for in crime fiction (along with murderers etc…) I want eyes to dissect everything. I prefer my books to have a strong setting, and it can only be done if the author creates the perfect and realistic atmosphere. I need to be transported!
I took a personal break to make sure I had not lost my super power of always finding my way in London and picked the amazing Belgian Reviewer, our darling Inge, from St Pancras. No regrets, as my time at the festival was as much about who I was with than what I was attending! More on this at the end of this post!
Next in line was THE PSYCHOLOGY OF TENSION because Mark Edwards and Lisa Jewell are masters in this category!
“We have to brave that out, write those not perfect women, not perfect men” (Amanda Jennings)“Women should see the reality of their lives reflected in what they read”
— Meggy Roussel (@Choconwaffles) September 27, 2019
Did you ask for a scene from a book?
— Meggy Roussel (@Choconwaffles) September 27, 2019
Saturday began with a bang! My Sweet Jen and Curly Mandie, who helped me during my very first festival, joined us!
WHEN WOMEN MAKE MURDERERS was an intense panel!
“Women and men kill very differently” says the fabulous @FionaAnnCummins“Covers can have an effect on who picks up the books, men or women” GREAT point by @cjtudor about how marketing and covers affect the readership!“The potential to kill is in everybody” remarks @cjtudor
@LivKiernan “Human are seven times more likely to kill one of their kind” I didn’t know this!
“I find violence is the least interesting part in my novels. I like to explore the aftermath of this violence” @willrdean“I only have 5-star reviews” “None or us have killed people” @antti_tuomainen being his usual hilarious self!
About translations: “when you write a book, you write for your original audience, you don’t think about the translations” @YrsaSig
Having worked in translation, I was really happy to hear Yrsa talk about it!
We then enjoyed the next hour with signings, pictures, and me making a fool of myself in front of Steve Cavanagh! Mark Edwards was the sweetest, Yrsa Sigurdardottir was so welcoming and friendly I was teary, I was lucky to meet a lovely author I had written a review for (Proximity by Jem Tugwell) and I was reunited with Team Orenda!
I took another break to say goodbye to Inge and got all emotional. This is the reader telling you finally meeting people you share books and more with online is a chance.
Did I mention Capital Crime was more about the people than anything else? Because that’s what I’ve brought with me. The encounters. The fun American guy who said I sounded American and made my day. The looking for your friends in the crowd. The sharing a row with people you don’t know and just enjoy the moment. David and Adam have succeeded in bringing crime to London, and people together.
I was soon back to get INSIDE THE MIND OF A CRIMINAL!
I jumped out of my seat to hug the fabulous Caroline Mitchell, before listening to Mel Sherratt, Simon Kernick and Winnie M. Li discuss with Jenny Blackhurst! Rachel Abbott was missed!!
« There’s violence in our world, crime fiction help us understand what leads people to act the way they do » @winniemli
Before we knew it, it was time for the final panel… CHANGING TIMES
At this time, I was exhausted, happy, hungry, with bloody stars in my eyes and a head the size of a basketball!
The Readers Awards came and went. Everyone was enjoying the place, the company, the prizes (I have videos but my computer won’t let me upload them!) It was the end of an intense few days, and it couldn’t have been better.
Capital Crime in a nutshell. You can’t really put a feeling on the experience. Or put it in a box. It was grand without being pretentious. Everyone was approachable. The tea was good!
And the books! Goldsboro was here to help us fill up our shelves! I need to mention the offer to post our books so we wouldn’t have to leave clothes behind to close the suitcases!! That’s called thinking about every detail!