Thursday, September 10, 2009

Crime-writing festival within the festival at Ireland's Books 09

While it's evening here in New Zealand, right now people are preparing for their day on the other side of the world, including in Ireland - where the Books 09 Festival kicks off today (10 Sept). And once again, unlike our own literary-fiction focused Auckland Writers Festival, there is plenty of crime and thriller related action also to be found.

As the Irish Festival's website states: "There's also a superb crime-festival-within-the-festival featuring an exciting selection of authors renowned in the genre - Tom Robb Smith, Colin Bateman, Alex Barclay, Mandasue Heller, John Connolly, Ruth Dudley Edward..."

There are five crime fiction-related events, all considerately scheduled at different times on Saturday afternoon (12 September) at Independent Colleges in Dawson Street, so it is possible to have a whole afternoon and evening of crime and thriller fiction fill, if you so desire. The events all cost 9 Euros (discount with multiple events), and run as follows:

12:30pm - Bloodwork: A Crime Writing Workshop: Shamus Award-winning author Declan Hughes (ALL THE DEAD VOICES) hosts a crime writing workshop designed to hone your killer writing instincts.
2:30pm - Bright Young Things: Cormac Millar hosts a panel with Ava McCarthy, Stuart Neville, Alan Glynn and John McFetridge

4:00pm - In Cold Blood - The Art of True Crime Writing: Ruth Dudley Edwards (AFTERMATH: THE OMAGH BOMBING) hosts a debate between Paul Williams, Emer Connolly and Niamh O'Connor on the nature of Irish crime journalism and true crime writing.

5:30pm - Real Guts, No Glory: Critically acclaimed author Brian McGilloway (BLEED A RIVER DEEP) hosts a panel with Alex Barclay (BLOOD RUNS COLD), Gene Kerrigan (DARK TIMES IN THE CITY), Arlene Hunt and Mandasue Heller on the shocking truth behind crime fiction.

7:00pm - A Dirty Job: Declan Hughes hosts a panel with Colin Bateman, John Connolly (EVERY DEAD THING) and Eoin McNamee.

An article in the Irish Independent last month also mentioned that international crime writers Tom Rob Smith (UK) and Sarah Paretsky (USA) would also be attending Books 09, but I haven't yet seen any specific event information about them. As that article noted, it has been a year of good recognition for Irish crime writing, with an "Emerald Noir" panel at the Harrogate Festival in England, and the Irish Book Awards including a crime-writing category for the first time.

Now if we could just get the organisers of the Auckland Writers Festival, or the Montana NZ Book Awards (from next year onwards the New Zealand Post Book Awards) to similarly open their arms to crime and thriller fiction as an important, even integral, part of literature...

Thoughts? Feedback? Will some of our Irish readers (Richard? Rob?) be attending? Who would you most like to see?


  1. Craig, it's unlikely I'm going to be able to attend as I'd already planned to be away this weekend at a family event. I have been trying to decide if I should try and rearrange things, but probably won't. I've never been to a writer's festival - for some reason it's not something I've been drawn to. Not sure why.

  2. I understand Rob - however I would add that I never used to go to such things (writers festivals, book launches, events), preferring instead to just 'enjoy the books', but in fact I have never regretted going to any of the events, whether small book launches or large festivals, that I have attended.

    No matter what, you always get something out of them - including meeting some cool people (both writers and others). For instance last year I was in Vancouver for a month, and was at the public library one day and saw they were hosting a crime writing evening with the Canadian Crime Writers Association (announcing the Arthur Ellis Awards finalists for 2008) - I ummed and ahhed about going, and in the end went 'what the hell', and went along. It was great. Crime writers in particular seem to be quite down to earth and approachable.

    Ditto with 3 events held by the Takapuna Library here in Auckland I've attended recently (Linwood Barclay, Tom Rob Smith, Gregg Hurwitz). I was busy at work and had other things on I had to re-arrange to attend (and just about didn't go to a couple), but each time I was glad I did.

    It's the old saying - you'll regret the things you don't do, more than the things you do. So next time there's an event that doesn't clash with a family commitment, I'd recommend you give it a try... you may really like hanging out with other readers, meeting a few writers, and chatting about crime fiction...