The first Capital Crime Festival, which was held at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London from 26th-28th September, is over – so that’s it for this year. But if it isn’t one of the highlights of the crime writing calendar next year I will be amazed. I don’t think you’ll find anyone who attended who didn’t have a brilliant time, that goes for readers, authors, publishers, journalists and bloggers alike. Social media has been abuzz over the past few days, full of praise and admiration for the organisers, staff and volunteers who pulled the festival off in great style.

Before I attended, I wrote a couple of pieces on the schedule, the books I’d already reviewed and the authors I’ve interviewed; they’re online if you’re interested. This is an introduction to two more pieces, which will be published over the next few days, on the conference itself. I think any crime fan would love it at Capital Crime, there’s nothing pretentious or staid about the event. My overwhelming memory will be one of having had an awful lot of fun. I learned a fair bit along the way too!

Organisers Adam Hamdy and David Headley clearly knew that a crime festival in London had to be special and it was – one hundred and thirty authors and two days of events ranging from quizzes to awards, panels to films, a digital festival project and, of course, book signings. The panel topics were as varied as the crime genre itself, including historical fiction, crime writing and feminism, the spy world, initial idea to finished film/book, Scandi-noir, and genre-crossing. A thoroughly entertaining two and a bit days.

Are you a serious crime fan? It doesn’t matter whether you’re into cosy or psychological, noir or police procedural, you’d love Capital Crime. Obviously, it’s too late for this year but there’s always 2020 because the festival has been a roaring success. I have no doubt it is going to become a permanent fixture on the crime writing festival calendar. The organisers are already planning for next year, maybe you might like to think about joining the party? If you ever wondered what a major crime festival is like, it’s a warm friendly experience and there are plenty of opportunities to meet your favourite authors. Capital Crime is big, over 600 people attended each day, but the atmosphere is very welcoming; authors and journalists mix with readers and bloggers from the first moment to the very end of the festival (often in one of the bars). To see what happened at Capital Crime, read The Capital Crime Files: Day One online now . . .

Paul Burke
October 2019