When the draft programme was published on the CRIMEFEST website, my indecision about whether to go evaporated and I booked my ticket and hotel. Since then there have been numerous anticipatory mutterings on Twitter about it, who’s going, who’s doing what. Several months later, here I am, in my hotel, re-visiting the programme and marking off the sessions I want to attend. Proceedings kick off today at 13.30 and I’m really looking forward to it.
I know from attending conferences when I was teaching how tiring these events can be. The days pass in a flash, and you realise that you haven’t eaten or drunk much water. But I also know how valuable and informative they can be. At CRIMEFEST, panel discussions are scheduled for the entire day, with no more than twenty minutes in between them to shuffle off – via the loo – to the next one. This provides excellent value for money, hurrah, but does mean that opportunities to chat to people are fleeting until the evening. And the bar, if you have the energy. Oh yes, the bar at these events is where the ‘hidden curriculum’ takes place!
I am looking forward to seeing, and hearing from, some of the people whose books I’ve been reading. It will also be lovely to say ‘hello’ to some of the folk I correspond with on Twitter, to put a name to a face, or a face to a book cover (… in the case of people who have their latest book as their avatar!). Unfortunately, a few interesting sessions clash and I’ve been trying to decide which to go to! As always, I have personal interests and professional ones. As a result of my previous incarnation as a teacher of A-level Psychology, and my continued interest in almost all things psychological, I am drawn to certain topics; the book I am writing, however, and those I have planned, will lure me into slightly different panel discussion rooms, such as ‘Underbelly – the gritty side of the street’ and ‘The changing face of London’. Other sessions which have caught my eye are: ‘The joys and pitfalls of technology in a crime novel’; ‘Moral hypocrisy in crime fiction’; ‘Crime & Crossover’, and the panels with debut authors.
It will be interesting to review the event on ‘the other side’. How will my my expectations sit with my actual experience?
Vicky Newham © 2013