Tag Archives: CrimeFest 2012

Bristol: bullets, books and Banksy

I’m in Bristol for CrimeFest 2012. The festing got a lively start yesterday with an entertaining interview with Frederick Forsyth, who told great stories of his days as a foreign correspondent. (On crossing Checkpoint Charlie into East Berlin the night President Kennedy was shot: “I’ve never seen such an arrogant bunch of people so absolutely panicked.”) He also insisted that, after pulling the final page of his first novel from the typewriter, he only made one edit: He re-inserted page one and added “The Day of” before his original title, “The Jackal.” The manuscript was published without a single change. Amazingly, when he said this, not one writer in the audience rose up to kill either Forsyth or himself.

Everybody attending CrimeFest is in an enthusiastically murderous mood. I had breakfast with a friend who blogs extensively about crime fiction and who, in her real life, works for the UK’s Supreme Court. She attends mystery conventions in the United States, and described the annoyance of being pulled aside repeatedly by U.S. immigration for fingerprinting. She hates being treated like a criminal — and she has told American passport control officials so, in a voice that could send chills down the spine of a supreme court justice. I nodded in sympathy. But I didn’t ask her if she’d gone through U.S. immigration in the black T-shirt she was wearing this morning, the one that says, “Got Bullets?”

And on a walkabout through Bristol, I spotted the famous Banksy painting above, which the BBC calls “the graffiti artist’s saucy stencil” for the city. Like all of the mysterious Banksy’s street art, it was put up in the dead of night. Bristol city council ran a public vote asking if it should stay or go. With 93% of the vote, it stayed.

Now it’s time to get ready for my first event: “Sorry, Officer — adventures in thriller research, or how not to get arrested.” Bristol seems like the perfect place to discuss this topic.

Coming up: Crimefest Bristol 2012

Tomorrow I’m heading to Bristol for CrimeFest 2012. My official events are on Friday:

“Sorry, Officer” — adventures in thriller research, or how not to get arrested. Spotlight session: 11:50-12:10.

“Moral Dilemmas and Ethical Choices” — 4 p.m.
Panel moderated by Anne Zouroudi, also featuring Laura Wilson, Cath Staincliffe, and Yrsa Sigurdardottir.

What questions about research would you be interested in? How to do it? How not to do it? How to turn everyday disasters into thriller scenes? If you’re in Bristol, come find out.

CrimeFest update: moral dilemmas & “Sorry, Officer”

My schedule at CrimeFest 2012 in Bristol has shaped up. I’m going to be doing a couple of events on Friday May 25th:

Spotlight session: “Sorry, Officer” — adventures in thriller research, or how not to get arrested. 11:50-12:10. This session will consist of me telling stories about my escapades (yes, that is the technical and legal term — “Shenanigans” is no longer used, because the word implies a misdemeanor offense at best). Come along to hear me tell what might be entirely true accounts of my life.

“Moral Dilemmas and Ethical Choices” — 4 p.m.
Panel moderated by Anne Zouroudi, also featuring Laura Wilson, Cath Staincliffe, and Yrsa Sigurdardottir.

I’d love to see some of you there. It’s going to be a great conference. Other authors attending include Sue Grafton, Jeffery Deaver, Lee Child, Frederick Forsyth, and P.D. James. Yes, Baroness James. And she doesn’t come out for just any old event.

And here’s a question for all of you, whether you’re thinking of attending or not: What kinds of moral dilemmas do you find interesting in fiction? In crime fiction and thrillers, particularly? Law versus justice? Outlaw with a code of honor? Lawman forced to choose between his family and his duty? Police officer who is tempted to lie, twist arms, or torture a suspect to get the information that might save lives?

What gets your goat? What gets your dander up? What do you love to read about, and what do you hate to see, in books or movies or on TV?