I attended CrimeFest between the 9th and 12th May in Bristol. The festival works on an egalitarian model where everyone pays the same amount to attend. So, you have authors like Gunnar Staalesen who's sold 4 million books rubbing shoulders with those who are unpublished, like me. Its main attendees are published authors.
The event was held in the Mercure Hotel, a fairly grand 4 star hotel in the centre. There were 2 main rooms for panels although at times there were 3 running in parallel. There was also a Waterstones shop, a signing table and seating areas. The downstairs bar was the snazzier of the two and we were told that attendees have been seen in there all night.
The panel sessiosn were run in parallel, using two or three streams ran in rooms that held 50 to 200 people. They were led by a participatory moderator with 4 authors. Each was given an introduction, talked about their latest book and answered half a dozen questions within the theme before 10 minutes of questions from the floor. Audiences ranged from 40 to 150 and were mostly 40+, female and white.
Session topics included unreliable narrators, police procedurals, scandi is dandy and an unusual type of spy. I enjoyed listening to Alex Shaw's tales of living in Ukraine as well as Sarah Flint who I spoke to after their single person sessions. On Sunday afternoon they had a larger panel session with the creative team behind the Agatha Raisin TV team. It was entertaining and I got to speak to the producer Barry Ryan afterwards.
At the event I got to meet up with Caroline Goldsworthy, a fellow Curtis Brown alumni as well as Judy Gold, a alumni of Katherine Stansfield's crime writing course at Cardiff University. Overall, I enjoyed the event but would get far more from it if I was published. However, it was local and affordable so still good value. It was well run, running smoothly.