Thursday, May 26, 2016

Crimefest 2016

Michael and Stanley - Thursday

Several of our co-bloggers have asked about our experiences at Crimefest.  I’d like to give the scintillating definitive report here today, but having landed in Johannesburg a few hours ago after a packed overnight flight from London in sardine class, scintillating isn’t my word of the day.

As always it was great fun.  Being based in South Africa, it’s always a great treat when one has the opportunity to meet old friends at writing conventions and to make new ones.  And Crimefest really is one of the friendliest and most enjoyable of the bunch.  It’s in the hundreds of participants rather than in the thousands, and even though it now has three parallel panels on the Saturday instead of the usual two, almost all the panels are full and there are plenty of readers buying books.

Caroline Todd with Michael

Almost all the Orenda Books mystery authors were there and we had a great dinner together on the opening Thursday night.  I think they’ve all had their arms twisted to write a guest blog for us here, so you’ll be hearing more about them then.

Kati Hiekkapelto
Not really a big drinker...

Bill and Toby Gottfried
Loyal to Kubu as always!
Apart from the general camaraderie and good cheer (usually of the alcoholic variety), there were a variety of highlights. Featured author interviews with great writers (and speakers) Ian Rankin, Peter James, and Norway’s Anne Holt. An excellent panel around real and fictional spying where James Naughtie talked about his fact-based fiction and Adam Sisman talked about his recent biography of John Le Carré. 

A highlight for us was meeting ‘Karen Perry,’ a successful thriller writing partnership from Dublin consisting of Karen Gillece and Paul Perry.
Paul Perry and Karen Gillece
The four of us made up a panel chaired by Jake Kerridge.  I hope the audience enjoyed it as much as we did.  It was amazing (or perhaps not) how closely the two teams felt about most issues. I’m looking forward to reading their books.

Probably if you care about these things, you already know all about the various Crime Writers Association Dagger shortlists.  Hearty congratulations to Jorn Horst on his nomination for THE CAVE MAN for the International Dagger. He’s written about it before here.  I’ve read it and it’s a very fine book.  He’s head to head with South African thriller master Deon Meyer (up for the award for the second or third time) for his latest book ICARUS. (You can read my interview with Deon about this excellent book here.)

Our farewell dinner
Michael with Peter Rozovsky
 while Adrian Muller has a well earned meal.

Stan with Alex Shaw
The Icelanders Cometh
Ragnar Jonasson and Yrsa Sigurdardottir (with grandson)
Of course the most important highlight for us was the release of DEADLY HARVEST for the first time in the UK. We really love that cover! 


  1. Sounds like a wonderful time! Thanks for the report. Now get some sleep.

  2. Michael, You! Stan! Toby and Bill!! Caroline Todd!! Yrsa!!!! How could it not have be delightful? Kati and I will meet here in NYC next Monday. then she will tell me the unexpurgated version :)

  3. Indeed! You will enjoy Kati. Just don't let her grab all the glasses!

  4. All yes, you surrounded by smiling faces of good friends, and bottles of booze. Inspirational once again! :)

  5. It was, as ever, a delight to see you both there, as well as Caro, and Yrsa. Karen at Orenda Books has to be one of the most enthusiastic of publishers.