Last month I volunteered at Capital Crime in London. It was a wonderful experience to be part of this incredible and successful inaugural event. The line-up was excellent, and tough decisions had to be made as to which events to attend.
In the mornings I worked on the registration desk, welcoming the visitors, handing out passes and goody bags and providing them with directions and information. I really enjoyed my role and it was great to work alongside the other enthusiastic volunteers. There was a definite buzz of excitement about the event, which created a fantastic working environment.
In the afternoons I was free to attend the sessions, and so I crammed in as many as I possibly could!
Here’s a brief overview of the events I went to:
· The Psychology of Tension – Mark Edwards and Lisa Jewell in conversation with Clare McGowan.
I met Clare in the summer at the Romantic Novelists’ Association conference when I attended her workshop. She’s an excellent tutor and at Capital Crime she also proved she was an excellent interviewer too. Her thought provoking questions sparked some interesting conversations, and it was fantastic to get such wonderful insights into Mark and Lisa’s writing, and the inspiration and research behind their novels. I also had the opportunity to meet and chat to them all briefly at the Author Book Signings after the session.
· The Human Cost of Crime – Ian Rankin and Don Winslow in conversation with Chi Chi Izundu. Ian and Don had a fantastic rapport and their session dug deep into the wider effects of crime and how many people can be changed by it; not just the victim, but their family, the criminal’s family, the police investigating the case, and the community surrounding them. The ripple effect is astounding and both writers feel the effects of their research.
· Is Crime Fiction a Problem for Feminists? An insightful panel from Killer Women members.
· The Wrong Side of The Law – Tony Kent, Imran Mahmood, Harriet Tyce and Steve Cavanagh – an excellent panel on the shift from practicing law to writing crime. It was fascinating to hear what had driven them all to careers in law in the first place, and learn about some of the experiences they have had and how this has influenced their writing.
· In the Mind of A Criminal – Mel Sherratt, Simon Kernick and Winnie M Li in conversation with Jenny Blackhurst – discussed the disturbing and sometimes personal side of their work writing criminals, along with debating the triggers that lead to crime and the effects of nature verses nurture.
· High Octane Thrillers – James Swallow, Chris Ryan and Kimberley Howe in conversation with Adam Hamdy – another excellent session, and it was truly inspiring to hear of Chris’ work to encourage reading for youngsters.
· Fantastic Crime – Stuart Turton, Ben Aaronovitch and Sarah Pinborough – a lively, entertaining and interesting discussion on crime writing across genres, that not only provided great insights, but also gave me inspiration for how to solve an issue I have been stuck on with a new novel I’m planning, so huge thanks folks!
· David Baldacci interviewed by Kimberley Howe - it was a particular honour to hear David talk and get to meet him at the book signing. My dad and I are huge fans and whilst poor health means he couldn’t attend an event like this, I bought him signed copy of ‘The Winner’ which I know he will be absolutely thrilled with, (but shhhh…. I’m going to surprise Dad with it for Christmas).
I headed home with a rather heavy bag of signed books. It was amazing to meet to so many of my writing idols and chat with them briefly. I left feeling incredibly lucky to have been able to be part of such a great first event and I’ll definitely be back next year. It’s an amazing feeling when you find yourself surrounded by like-minded people, and I met so many volunteers, readers, bloggers and authors whom I hope to keep in touch with. Thank you all for making Capital Crime such a friendly, welcoming, informative and inspiring place to be.
And of course, huge thanks to David Headley, Adam Hamdy and Lizzie Curle of all the work that went on behind the scenes over the weekend and in the months leading up to it. You nailed it!
As for me… well, my experience volunteering at Capital Crime has encouraged me to step forward for another volunteer role, this time as the 60th Anniversary Events Co-ordinator for the Romantic Novelists’ Association, working with the fantastic (and very organised) Bella Osborne.