If you include, as you probably should, the 2006 Left Coast Crime convention--which also took place in Bristol, England--as part of its history, then this weekend’s CrimeFest was the event’s ninth year. Through all that time, these gatherings have been organized by Adrian Muller and Myles Allfrey, and have been held at the four-star Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel. Ali Karim, The Rap Sheet’s tireless British correspondent, has long sung the praises of this convention, and his opinions on this weekend’s conference echo those he’s delivered in years past. He calls CrimeFest “excellent, just the right size,” held in a “fantastic hotel” in a town with hundreds of restaurants within a five-minute walk, for all budgets.” And he extols the fact that “no one [there] takes themselves too seriously.” Maybe it’s all the gin Ali imbibed during his three-plus days in southwest England, or the fact that he had the opportunity to hang around with some of the world’s most respected crime novelists, but he says he left Bristol on Sunday feeling “energized and with such warm thoughts. He adds that he’s “rarely laughed so much” as he did at CrimeFest.
Fortunately for those of us who weren’t able to attend the 2014 CrimeFest, Ali took a profusion of photographs there and uploaded them to his Facebook page. With his permission, I’ve culled more than a dozen of my favorites and posted them below.
Click on any of these photographs to open an enlargement.
Author Maureen Jennings with critic-novelist Peter Guttridge, snooping out fresh reads in the CrimeFest Book Room.
Severn House editor Kate Lyall Grant is the rose caught between two thorns--author James Oswald and Shots editor Michael Stotter.
Novelist Stephen Booth concentrates on his signing at CrimeFest.
The charming Ruth Dudley Edwards inks some bookplates.
Martin Walker ventured over from France for this convention.
CrimeFest Bristol co-chairs Myles Alfry and Adrian Muller enjoy a bite to eat during a short break from the convention.
Mick Herron, who won the 2013 Gold Dagger Award for Dead Lions, devotes a bit of downtime to signing books.
Ali Karim and critic-author Mike Ripley certainly seem to be enjoying themselves at the Severn House party.
Shots contributor Ayo Onatade and Sophia Isabelle Karim (Ali’s daughter) arrive for the CrimeFest “gala dinner.”
Julia Jones (left) of the Margery Allingham Society presents Martin Edwards with the inaugural CWA Margery Allingham Prize.
2014 Diamond Dagger Award recipient Simon Brett served ably as after-dinner speaker and CrimeFest toastmaster.
What better way to finish off an evening than in the Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel bar, where laughter echoes as if in a cave?
Fellow authors and longtime friends Robert Wilson and Paul Johnston sample some of the bar’s liquid treats.
Martin Edwards looks on while fellow author Kate Ellis signs bookplates for her fans.
Kevin Wignall’s Sunday morning interview with Icelandic novelist Yrsa Sigurðardóttir drew a standing-room-only crowd.
It’s time to say farewell, until next year’s CrimeFest. Left to right: Mason Cross, Sophia Isabelle Karim, Shots editor Michael Stotter, Kevin Wignall, and James Oswald.
(All photos © 2014 Ali Karim)
READ MORE: “CrimeFest--and a Magic Moment,” by Martin Edwards (‘Do You Write Under Your Own Name?’); “Thrillers at CrimeFest 2014,” by Ali Karim (Shotsmag Confidential); “CrimeFest 2014: Saturday’s Panels,” by Sarah Ward (Crimepieces); “Confessions from CrimeFest,” Parts One, Two, and Three (Crime Thriller Girl).