I hadn't intended on going to Crime Fest this year. It was too close to my trip to Shetland and I was itching to start writing the last book in the Shetland Quartet. And I'm quite shy. While it's always lovely to catch up with old friends, I never feel really at ease with the crowds in the bar. I think it's called the impostor syndrome - that sense that everyone else has the right to be there, but I don't quite. Eventually, I think, I'll be caught out.
Then Adrian Muller offered me the chance to interview Karin Fossum and it was impossible to turn that down. I've enjoyed her books since the first Inspector Sejer novel, DON'T LOOK BACK. There's a clarity in the writing that I love, and a courage in the issues she tackles. Besides anything else doing the interview would give me the excuse to re-read her work. Adrian also asked me to moderate a panel on translated fiction and I'm interested in that too, in the process of turning one work of art into another. At the end of that process who does it belong to? And who is the translator's client? The author? The reader? Or the publisher paying the wages? Should the translator stick to the original even if it isn't terribly good? I wanted to hear what other writers thought. So of course I signed up for Crime Fest.
And of course I was glad to be there. Karin was a serious and thoughtful interviewee. These weren't stock answers trotted out on every occasion and the audience recognised her honesty. It was great to meet Chris Fowler - who's books I've admired for a long time - and Louise Penny, whose deceptively simple crime novel STILL LIFE has won a heap of prizes.
One of my crime in translation panel members, Ros Schwartz was fascinating on her craft, entertaining and illuminating at the same time. We'd emailed and I'd met her briefly at the announcement of the Dagger shortlist in London, but it this was the first time I'd heard her speak. She translates another of my favourite writers - Dominique Manotti. I'm delighted that she'll be joining me and fellow Dagger shortlisted translators Peter Millar and Stephen Satarelli in a discussion at the Lit and Phil Library in Newcastle on July 8th. Come along too. You'll be in for a treat.