After years of queuing up to attend one book event after another, not to mention helping Judith Barrow to run the Narberth Book Fair, 2020 crashed into the barriers, everything was cancelled – no book fairs, no signings, not real-life book launches. A chance for me to discover just how much I miss proper contact with readers.
But this too shall pass. There is light at the end of the tunnel, hope springing eternal and all manner of other clichés, because writers can’t be kept down forever. Crime Cymru, of which I am a member, is triumphantly planning a major new international crime writing festival for Wales, Gŵyl Crime Cymru Festival, to be held in sea-side Aberystwyth (easily accessible by road, rail, hot-air balloon and intergalactic wormholes) in 2022, featuring such writers as Ann Cleeves, Peter James, Clare Mackintosh and Mark Billingham.
But meanwhile, rather than wait for all Covid-a9 restrictions to end, a digital festival is being held this year, from April 26th, to May 3rd, featuring some of the Crime Cymru authors, along with panels from TV hits, Keeping Faith and The Pembrokeshire Murders, plus outstanding authors like Vaseem Khan, Lee and Andrew Child, Abir Mukherjee, Ragnar Jonasson, Peter James, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, Clare Mackintosh and M W Craven. Panels cover wide-ranging crime fiction topics, from Historical and International to Welsh Language Crime.
Every single event is FREE, but places need to be reserved through EVENTBRITE, via the festival website. Simples! And each event is paired with a bookshop somewhere in Wales, which will be offering the books in question.
I shall be there, on Monday 3rd May, at 1pm, talking with Sarah Ward and E S Thomson about Gothic crime writing, so I hope to see you there.