Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Crime and Justice Festival - Sunday

After a two dog night* at Karen's, Sunday started (not so) bright and too early, but after a reviving shot of caffeine, we were ready for our very full day.

A Conversation with Peter Temple. A great start to the day with Temple discussing a wide range of topics from his start as a journalist and editor to his writing crime novels. He had many amusing anecdotes about agents, publishers and dealing with film and television producers. One tale was about finding a publisher who loved his first Jack Irish novel and wanted to publish it, except could he maybe just get rid of the football, and the cabinet making, oh, and the horse racing too. After doing this there would have no book left! Luckily he found another publisher who genuinely loved the book as it was. The good news is he said he's in the final stages of his follow up book to The Broken Shore, and it should be available early next year.

Matters of Procedure with P.D. Martin, Garry Disher and Barry Maitland. All the authors write police procedural novels, or in the case of Phillipa Martin, an FBI procedural. They discussed the methods they used to get their stories to ring true, while avoiding getting bogged down in boring detail. They discussed the research they did (or didn't do) to get their facts right, with Martin showing an impressive range of large reference books she uses to help with the authenticity of her books.

Writing from Life with Leigh Redhead, Angela Savage and Dorothy Johnston. Three very interesting women discussed how their own life experiences have influenced their writing. They all have a background in the sex industry in one way or another. Redhead talked about her days as a stripper, and how she created Simone Kirsch because she wanted to write a book that gave an accurate picture of women in the sex industry, and not as the victims they are usually shown as. Johnston uses her personal knowledge of brothels, particularly the most recent book, Eden. Savage has spent many years as an HIV health worker in a number of Asian countries. Her books feature a female private investigator in Thailand.

Nigel Latta's Darklands. This session was a last minute substitution after the original one we'd booked was cancelled. And what a great session it was! Latta is a forensic psychologist based in Dunedin New Zealand, and his stories of some of the cases he's had to deal with were mind boggling, horrific and hilarious all at the same time. He has a wonderfully dry sense of humour that obviously helps him cope with these difficult cases. His book, Into to the Darklands, has been made into a television series, which has apparently recently been bought by an Australian network. So hopefully we'll get to see it before too long.

Trivia Quiz. The last session of weekend was a crime fiction trivia quiz. There was a disappointing turn out for this, with just the four of us (Karen and her other half, Sunnie and myself). This obviously gave us very good odds for a win, but it would have been more fun with a larger group of participants. Amazingly Sunnie, Karen and I tied for first place. The prize was a large box of books worth several hundred dollars. We carted the winner's spoils off home and proceeded to divide up the goodies between us. Here is a picture of my haul for the weekend - it includes a couple of books that were not part of the prize winnings.

With that, sadly, the Festival was over for this year. We all went home feeling quite elated after a terrific weekend. Thanks to Karen for her wonderfully warm hospitality and to her, her hubby, and Sunnie for the great company.

*Australian bushie expression indicating a very cold night, and yes it was a very cold night (this is Melbourne in the middle of winter after all), but I also mean that Karen's two Australian terriers decided Aunty Helen's bed was the place to be, and spent both nights clamped to my side. They were deliciously warm and the three of us slept soundly all night.


  1. What a great haul! I'd bet people are kicking themselves now for not participating but better for all three of you. Sounds like you had a lot of fun.
    Much love,
    PK the Bookeemonster

  2. Luckily it's not long until everybody's back for the Melbourne Writers Festival week or so - and the dogs are looking forward to your return.

    They both get booted off our bed because it's too crowded so they are very very happy when Aunty Helen is in the sofa bed :)

    The photo looks very impressive - we should also mention there are some goodies put aside for Andrea and Sally when they are down for MWF as well.

  3. Thanks PK, we did all have a great time.

  4. Oh, yes, thanks for reminding me, Karen I'd forgotten about the ones we put aside for Andrea and Sally. We should have taken a picture of the whole pile before we each stuffed our hoard into our bulging suitcases or equally bulging bookshelves.