Capital Crime 2019: The Verdict
Updated: Jul 27
Earlier this year, I discovered crime writing festivals are, in actual fact, a thing. This weekend, I discovered how much joy they could bring me. Enter: Capital Crime 2019.
Talk about hitting me between the eyes with line up after jaw-dropping line up. Apologies for briefly switching genres, but never in my life have I needed Hermione's time turner more than I did this weekend. I'll talk briefly about my own personal highlights, but I know from the people I spoke to that thousands of memories have been made in the course of three days.
I arrived on Thursday evening after much internal thought-wrangling and was immediately hit with the same thoughts that pummelled me on my first day of university. "Look at all those witty, clever people. You're nothing like them. Fraud! Leave!" No, thank you. I'm a Remainer in every sense of the word. After wandering around trying to look nonchalant but spectacularly failing, my knights in shining armour appeared in the form of Adam Hamdy and David Headley, who introduced me to a group of fellow authors and suddenly I didn't feel so lost.
The quality of the panels was phenomenal. My personal highlight was sitting on the front row for Truth in Pieces, a panel of bestselling authors including my all-time favourite author and inspiration for my crime writing Jane Casey who I was thrilled to be able to meet in person. Excellent tips were shared and absorbed!
As a woman, a feminist and a lesbian author, two panels I couldn't miss were: Is Crime Fiction a Problem for Feminists? and Changing Times. The former a group of astounding Killer Women including Sarah Hilary, Kate Rhodes, Julia Crouch, Colette McBeth and Amanda Jennings, and the latter discussing writing LGBTQ and ethnic minority characters within fiction, and the lack thereof. Mari Hannah almost reduced me to tears (in the best possible way) and was bloody wonderful to meet afterwards. After such a brilliant conversation, I came out feeling inspired and buzzing.
The most useful panel for me as an author at the beginning of my writing career was the Craft of Writing, with the aforementioned knights in shining armour and Vicki Mellor. I learnt a lot, and despite the scary statistics I left the room feeling fired up and ready to go for it. I will beat the statistics.
One of the things I loved most about Capital Crime was the unexpected infusion of humour. The Interrogation of Mark Billingham by former detective Graham Bartlett had me in stitches and the combined hilarity of Sarah Pinborough, Stuart Turton and Ben Aaronovitch in Fantastic Crime was pure comedy gold.
But beneath all the panels, book signings and alcohol, there was an underlying sense of togetherness, of excitement and of anticipation. I met so many people, ranging from unpublished authors to international best sellers and I can't say I've ever been in a situation where strangers are so damn nice to each other (although the appropriate amount of piss-taking was duly given and received).
I'd heard crime writers are a friendly bunch... I can happily confirm that is true beyond all doubt.
Are you a fellow Capital Criminal- sorry, Crimer? Please comment, I'd love to chat.