|Jo Derrick and Suzanne Rickards first and second left and me second right. On my immediate right is Lauren Sarno who treated us all to prosecco!|
The talks and discussions themselves were all tip-top quality. The highlights for me were Jeanette Winterson and her friend Ruth Rendell in conversation; Val McDermid in conversation with Sue Black, highly-regarded anatomist and human identification scientist. Again it was a conversation between two good friends. Kate Atkinson in conversation with Mark Lawson was also a highlight although due to a mess-up by the organisers, some of us thought it began at 8pm although it didn't actually start until 8.30. That may seem like nothing but in the heat it was difficult.
The difference between an event like the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival and a pure writers' event is subtle but should not be confused. At both you mingle with writers, both well-known and long-published, and there are many opportunities to socialise with fellow writers and agents. However in one of the many long queues in the ladies' loo, I overheard some writers discussing who they were going to pitch to.
No. No. No.
Agents and editors expect that to happen at pure writers' events such as York although there is a strict etiquette to follow. At a book event, You Do Not Pitch. (That's not to say if you get chatting to an agent, you might get on well enough to exchange business cards. If an agent does give you his or her card, then by all means email but don't ever be over-pushy.)
I met some great people and many I didn't even know would be there such as the lovely Carol Blake and handsome Tom Witcomb plus Joanna Swainson (my agent!) and Caroline Hardman. I was delighted to meet the elegant and delightful and fabulous writer, Suzanne Rickards and Jo's good friend Mandy. Hi to the bouncy Cath Bore, to Paula Readman and her husband Russell and everyone else I chatted to and to whom I apologise now for having forgotten your names.
I thank Jo coming with me, holding my arm and generally putting up with my geriatric and dull ways, for having remembered her camera and for letting me use her photos here and particularly for this one where I look chilled and relaxed although I was wilting from the heat! However, at least I look human. (Jon always turns me into an extra for a zombie horror movie.)
Jo and I will be there next year - fingers crossed. If I missed you this year (like Essie Fox - boo hoo) - I'll catch you in 2014. Be warned.