On Saturday the 15th of October there was a sinister gathering in Shoreditch Town Hall. Groups of women stood huddled discussing blood splatter patterns, weapon characteristics and publishing schedules. Also, whether the basement tea stand had run out of hot water.
This was the first Killer Women Festival, a crime writing festival aimed at supporting women crime writers and as a newbie writer I found it interesting, helpful and fun. Chatting to other attendees it was clear that both readers and more experienced writers also found the programme enjoyable and useful. There were workshops on writing and publishing, panel discussions on interesting topics like historical crime and getting into the mind of a killer, there was a debate on mysogyny in crime fiction, both Ann Cleeves and Val McDermid were interviewed on stage…It’s exhausting just thinking about the programme (you can see the whole programme here) and I’d have needed to clone myself twice to attend all the sessions that were of interest to me.
In the end I made the difficult choice to miss seeing the giants of crime writing in favour of focusing on things I thought would help my own writing. I’ve come away with some new perspectives and ideas, some new writing acquaintances, a goodie bag full of delightful snippets of killer women’s writing which will no doubt lure me into buying their books (oh the horror) and also a smidgen more confidence in my own ideas (of which more soon). I will definitely be going back next year and would recommend it to anyone who reads or writes crime fiction.
(Image copyright Killer Women)