It's been an absolutely fantastic few days here at the 2012 Auckland Writers and Readers Festival. You can feel the creativity and effervescence in the air, with so many creative people brought together, and so many people who love reading attending sessions, meeting authors, getting books signed, and just hanging out chatting about all things books, literature, learning, and more.Of course, I've been concentrating on some of the crime fiction-related sessions, and authors - but I've been so impressed by everything at the festival. Something that will stay with me for a long time is the excitement and exuberance of the many kids who have been attending - meeting authors like Oliver Jeffers, Eoin Colfer, and Emily Rodda (pictured above with me, and her recent crime novel LOVE, HONOUR, AND O'BRIEN - written under her real name Jennifer Rowe - after her extremely popular session with Eoin Colfer on Friday evening). It's great to see so many young people really excited about books and reading. And some of the authors have definitely been treated like rock stars by their young fans. How awesome is that?
There are many bouquets to be thrown around, but here's just a few:
- To the organisers, such as Artistic Director Anne O'Brien and her predecessors Stephanie Johnson and Jill Rawnsley, who have put together such a wonderful line-up (and have included crime plenty of crime and thriller fiction, for the first time in several years).
- To all the volunteers - dozens of hardworking people who love books, who are there to help with any queries, as well as setting up the stages for each session, and much, much more.
- To the team from Unity Books and The Women's Bookshop, who are collectively operating the Festival Book Store (although my credit card might not thank them as much....)
- To the visiting authors, from New Zealand and all around the world, who have been so engaged and interesting, and have helped inspire thousands of attendees over the course of a few days.
- To all the people - from publicists like Ruby, Karen and Gemma from Hachette and Josie from Allen & Unwin, to authors, audience members, people browsing the bookstore beside me, and others, who have patiently listened to me excitedly prattling on about all manner of things crime fiction over the past couple of days.
Randomly meeting Dame Stella Rimington, former head of MI5 and now author of the acclaimed 'Liz Carlyle' series of spy thrillers, in the foyer area after Peter James' session on Saturday morning...
With Booker-shortlisted AD (Andy) Miller (SNOWDROPS) after his very intriguing session, which delved into Russian politics, corruption, the nature and mindset of Russian society, the dangers to journalists in the 'pseudo-democracy' of the former Soviet superpower, and much more
Team testosterone before our well-received "A Mind for Murder" session this morning, in which we discussed violence in crime fiction, literary snobbery, the importance of good openings, the place of plot, the history of storytelling, and much more. Left to right: CWA Chair Peter James, Paul Thomas, myself, and Greg "Alix Bosco" McGee
Chatting to acclaimed New Zealand writer Paula Morris (whose book HIBISCUS COAST has a fair bit of crime/thriller in it) in the foyer on Sunday morning...
Have you been to any of the AWRF events this year?