To genre or not to genre …

16 July 2012

At the beginning of July, I went to Comic Con’ – the self styled ‘Geek’ festival for comic fans, fantasy fans, science fiction fans – in Paris (the one in San Francisco has just opened, with R-Patz, Kristin Stewart and other members of the Twilight cast making guest appearances). I was there to promote the Labyrinth mini series, with director Chris Smith, Tandem producer Tim Halkin and two of the fabulous actors – Katie McGrath (who places Oriane) and Emun Elliott (who plays Guilhem). I also saw my first glimpse of the film, which was extraordinary.  Tandem and Scott Free have done an incredible job and Comic Con’ is an extraordinary event.  Fans in costume, every one an expert, people who know your work better than you do, it was an incredible afternoon and a pleasure to be allowed to be just a little part of the Science Fiction/Fantasy world. Authors don’t usually get to play in such exhilarating spaces … very different from a literary festival.

This weekend, however, I’ve managed to sneak in to another Festival where I’m not part of the gang either. This time, the Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival. Running from Thursday 19th – Sunday 22nd July, it’s easily one of the most enjoyable and good natured book festivals anywhere in the world. I’m no more obviously a crime writer than a fantasy writer, but it’s great to be allowed to join in. I read a fair bit of fantasy and science fiction, and am a devoted crime fan, so both festivals feel like ‘time off’ for me. Headlining at Harrogate this yearare heavyweights Jo Nesbo, Harlan Coben, John ConnollyPeter Robinson, Peter James and Ian Rankin and each year the festival is chaired by a different high-profile crime writer. The music stopped this year on the wonderful Mark Billingham, creator of D.I. Tom Thorne. Even better, I’m being interviewed by the legendary Jenni Murray.

Many writers – most of us, perhaps – do not write novels that entirely fit within one genre or another.  My novels have elements of crime – who did what and to whom – as well as elements of fantasy.  Most of us, in our reading lives, read a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  We don’t categorise ourselves. As writers, too, we mostly shy away from labels.  We write the novels we are capable of writing, the way our thoughts take us. It’s up to publishers and to bookseller to decide where best we sit on the shelf.

So, if you’re close to Harrogate on Friday night and want to come along – to see not-a-crime writer having the time of her life –  you’ll be very welcome. My event is on Friday 20th July at 8.30pm, click here for booking information.