Friday, January 18, 2013

Conventional Wisdom

Guest Post by Marcia Talley

Looks like 2013 will be a banner year for Sisters in Crime members who have the time and inclination to attend a mystery-related conference or convention. Whether you’re a published author or an aspiring one, a mystery fan or a publishing industry professional, you should find a conference to suit you among the popular events listed below.

Love Is Murder
Chicago, IL • February 1–3
This forum allows writers and readers to further their knowledge of writing, publishing, and the business of book production. David J. Walker will be local guest of honor; Lee Goldberg, Bob Mayer, and Michael Harvey are featured authors.

Sleuthfest on Saturday
Sarasota, FL • February 16
Rescue your manuscript, your book, your career. Hands-on workshop led by bestselling authors Elaine Viets and Kristy Montee (P.J. Parrish).
Craft-oriented panels, e-book presentation, agent/editor presentation and pitch sessions.

Book ‘Em North Carolina
Lumberton NC • February 23
The second writers conference and book fair at Robeson Community College will host more than 75 authors and publishers for book signings, panel discussions, and more.

Left Coast Crime
Colorado Springs CO • March 21–24
“Where murder is the last resort” is for readers, writers, librarians, and other mystery and thriller enthusiasts. Craig Johnson and Laura Lippman will be guests of honor; David Corbett, toastmaster; Parnell Hall, “Last Resort Troubadour”; Tom and Enid Schantz, fan guests of honor; Stephen J. Cannell, ghost of honor.

2013 Edgar Symposium
New York, NY • May 1
Craft-oriented panels presented by leading crime writers and Edgar-award nominees. Grand master interview. Details TBA.

Malice Domestic 25
Bethesda MD • May 3–5
The conference honoring the traditional mystery will feature Laurie R. King, guest of honor; Laura Lippman, toastmaster; Aaron Elkins, lifetime achievement; Carolyn Hart, Amelia Award; Peter Robinson, international guest of honor; Cindy Silberblatt, fan guest of honor; Dick Francis, Malice remembers.

Festival of Mystery at Oakmont
Oakmont, PA • May 6
Mystery Lovers Bookshop sponsors this popular annual multi-author event. Book signings and author interviews.

Nancy Drew Conference
Boston/Somerville, MA • May 28 – June 2

Calling all fans of our favorite girl sleuth, Nancy Drew. This year’s theme books are #27, The Secret of the Wooden Lady and #83, The Case of the Vanishing Veil. Field trips, ghost tours, parties, book exchanges and merchandise.

Bristol UK • May 30–June 2
The annual convention draws top crime novelists, readers, editors, publishers and reviewers from around the world and gives delegates the opportunity to celebrate the genre in an informal atmosphere. Robert Goddard is the featured guest author/toastmaster. Also featured are Lindsey Davis, Jeffery Deaver, Sophie Hannah, David Hewson, Peter James, Simon Kernick, Denise Mina, Dana Stabenow and many more.

California Crime Writers
Pasadena CA • June 22–23
LA-SinC and Southern Chapter of Mystery Writers of America co-sponsor this biennial event geared to emerging and established mystery writers. Sue Grafton and Elizabeth George will be keynote speakers.

Thrillerfest VIII
New York NY • July 10–13
ThrillerMasters Anne Rice and R. L. Stine; Spotlight Guests Michael Connelly, T. Jefferson Parker, and Michael Palmer; and Silver Bullet Award Recipient Steve Berry will highlight the event.

Book Passage Mystery Writers Conference
Corte Madera, CA • July 25-28
Editors, agents, and publishers share with participants what they need to know to get published. Authors offer classes on setting, dialogue, suspense and point of view. Panels of detectives, forensic experts, and other crime-fighting professionals provide invaluable information that allows writers to put realism into their work.
Details TBA.

Theaksons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, (AKA Harrogate)
Harrogate UK • July 18–21
Chair Val McDermid will be joined by Special Guests Kate Atkinson, Charlaine Harris, Susan Hill, and Ruth Rendell interviewed by Jeanette Winterson.

Deadly Ink
New Brunswick, NJ • August 2 -4
Hank Phillippi Ryan is Guest of Honor; Rosemary Harris is Toastmaster; Fan Guest of Honor is Bob Daniher.

St Hilda’s Crime and Mystery Weekend
Oxford, UK • August 16-18
P.D. James Birthday Celebration
“From Here to Eternity: The Present and Future of Crime Fiction.” Now in its twentieth year, this classic conference at St Hilda’s College in Oxford, England features Jill Paton Walsh as Guest of Honor/Conference Lecturer. Other speakers include P.D. James, Val McDermid, Peter Robinson, Andrew Taylor, Frances Fyfield, Martin Edwards, Penny Evans, and Tom Harper/Edwin Thomas. After dinner speakers are Bernard Knight and Priscilla Masters. Natasha Cooper will chair. There is no website, as generally this conference has flourished through simple word of mouth. To get added to the mailing list or to request a booking form, contact

Scene of the Crime
Wolfe Island, Ontario, Canada • August 17
Wolfe Island — the largest of the Thousand Islands – hosts this mystery conference featuring author panels, readings, discussions, a writing workshop by Barbara Franklin, a coffee and muffin breakfast, full lunch (including church lady pie!) and their famous church supper. The 2013 Grant Allen award for contributions to Canadian crime and mystery writing will be awarded to Andrew Pyper, author of LOST GIRLS, THE GUARDIANS, and the forthcoming DEMONOLGIST. Other authors attending include Ian Hamilton, Janet Bolin, Linda Wiken/Erika Chase, and Gloria Ferris.

Killer Nashville
Nashville, TN • August 22-25
This conference offers over 60 sessions and 7 session tracks (general writing, genre specific writing, publishing, publicity & promotion, forensics, screenwriting, sessions for fans); manuscript critiques (fiction, nonfiction, short story, screenplay, marketing, query); a mock crime scene for you to solve; networking with bestselling authors, agents, editors, publishers, attorneys, publicists, and representatives from law and emergency services.

The Writers Police Academy
Jamestown, NC • September 5-8
Hands-on, interactive and educational experience writers can use to enhance their understanding of all aspects of law enforcement and forensics. This conference features real police, fire, and EMS training at an actual police academy. Top instructors and experts! In 2013, the registration fee will be partially underwritten for Sisters in Crime members.

Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival
Stirling, Scotland • September 13-15
The best of Scottish crime fiction featuring fifty

Creatures, Crimes & Creativity
Baltimore, MD • September 13-15
A literary conference designed to gather readers and writers of mystery, suspense, thriller, horror, sci-fi, fantasy and steam punk. It will present three days of panels and workshops of interest to both writers and fans. The main objective is to provide opportunities for authors and fans to meet and mingle, chat and network, and strengthen the bond between the creators of genre fiction and those who enjoy reading it. There will be presentations from two impressive key note speakers (Jeffrey Deaver and Christopher Golden) and interviews with two inspiring local special guest authors (John Gilstrap and Trice Hickman).

Agatha Christie Festival
Torquay, UK • September 15-22
The English Riviera transforms itself into the murder mystery capital of the country, with ladies and gents in their period finery immersing themselves in tea parties, theatre, dinners on steam trains and vintage bus tours in honor of the Queen of Crime, who was born in Torquay on 15th September 1890. Garden parties to die for, lunches at Burgh Island, exclusive Twilight Tours of Christie’s home, Greenway, and plenty of Devon Cream Teas.

SinC Into Great Writing! Workshop
Albany NY • September 18
"CREATE" Your Writing Career is the title of this year's pre-Bouchercon SinC into Great Writing Workshop. Cathy Pickens will lead the session on the creative process, including developing, learning to tap into creativity more deeply, and producing creative work more readily. Robert Dugoni will lead the session on selling your novel. More information and registration form coming in Spring.

Bouchercon 2013
Albany NY • September 19–22
Honorees at the world mystery conference include Sue Grafton for lifetime achievement, P. C. Doherty as international guest of honor, Tess Gerritsen as American guest of honor, Steve Hamilton as toastmaster, and Chris Aldrich and Lynn Kaczmarek as fan guests of honor.

Magna cum Murder Crime Writing Festival
Indianapolis, IN • October 25-27
This year, the conference will be held in Indianapolis (rather than Muncie) at the historic Columbia Club on Monument Circle. Guest of Honor, Steve Hamilton. Dinner speaker, Hank Phillipi Ryan.

New England Crime Bake
Dedham, MA • November 8-10
Details TBA.

Crime and Justice Festival
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia • November 15-17
The public, writers, social commentators, judicial luminaries and the legal profession come together to both celebrate and promote contemporary writings in the fields of justice and human rights, and to overlay these discussions with guest writers in the genre of crime fiction.

Know of a crime or mystery conference I haven’t mentioned? Leave us a comment!

Marcia Talley is the Agatha and Anthony award-winning author of the Hannah Ives mysteries including All Things Undying and The Last Refuge. Book twelve in the series, Deadly Passage, will be published in the summer of 2013. She is a past president of Sisters in Crime.


Sarah Glass said...

Quite a list! Which one(s) are you planning to go to this year?

Marcia Talley said...

I'd like to attend ALL of them, of course! Wouldn't it be fun to dress up in 1940s-era clothes for the Agatha Christie birthday celebration in Devon?

I will definitely attend the Edgars, Malice Domestic, the St Hilda's Crime and Mystery Weekend in Oxford, UK (my 19th year!) as well as Bouchercon in Albany. I lived in Albany as a first and second-grader, so I'm looking forward to doing a little visiting afterwards, just like I did after Bouchercon in Cleveland this year -- I was born in Cleveland and was able to reconnect with a long-lost first cousin for lunch.

Sarah Glass said...

Missing any conferences this year that you really wanted to go to but just can't?

Marcia Talley said...

Yes. I would love to attend the Writers Police Academy. I've heard nothing but RAVE reviews about it. Once again this year, Sisters in Crime is subsidizing the registration fee for members. What's not to like?

Sarah Glass said...

Thanks for the endorsement! But, what if you could only attend one conference this year, which would it be?

Marcia Talley said...

Not fair! That's like asking me which of my grandchildren I like the best! I love them all for different reasons. :-)

I'm afraid it's a dead tie -- Malice Domestic and St Hilda's Crime and Mystery weekend -- and, like grandchildren, for different reasons. I attended my first Malice Domestic conference way back in the early 1990s. Such a fangirl! Couldn't believe I was walking around in the same spaces as Margaret Maron, Dorothy Cannell, Elizabeth Peters, Sara Paretsky, Nevada Barr, Sarah Caldwell and other writers I admired. Malice had a short story contest back then and I got an honorable mention for my first mystery short story. That gave me the courage -- along with many kicks in the pants by my now author friends -- to submit my unpublished novel, Sing It To Her Bones -- for consideration for the Malice Domestic Grant. To my surprise, it won -- leading to an agent and a 3-book deal with Bantam, Dell. I will ALWAYS be grateful to Malice Domestic for that.

St Hildas in Oxford, UK is a WONDERFUL scholarly conference. Each year there is a theme. Authors are invited to speak and prepare papers related to that topic and each speaks for 30-40 minutes. There are no scheduling conflicts, so nobody has to miss anything. The conference begins with a champagne reception on Friday evening on the banks of the Cherwell overlooking the playing fields of Magdalen College and the towering spires of Oxford. Attendees stay in college rooms and dine together in the dining hall; the food is excellent, with delicious vegetarian options. It's a testament to the conference that authors return year after year, even if they have not been invited to speak that particular year. Last summer I gave the first address "Comic Relief: Or, What's So Funny About Murder," and I shared the stage with Alan Bradley, author of the wonderful Flavia deLuce novels.

You can see why I had to call it a tie!

Marni said...

Doing Bouchercon and this year I'm going to St. Hilda's and can't wait! Since my mystery series is set in the UK, it's a great way to stay and tour for research afterwards. I still want to get to the Writers Police Academy . . .

LD Masterson said...

Great list. May I add the Public Safety Writers' Association Conference, July 11-14, 2013 at the Orleans Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas. The conference is open to anyone writing crime and mystery fiction or non-fiction, technical writing for public safety magazines in print or online, or anyone interested in writing. (

Kate Charles said...

Great list, Marcia! I'd love to go to almost all of them! Your enthusiasm for St. Hilda's is much appreciated.

Maggie Toussaint said...

What fun to see this list and realize I've only dipped my toe in the mystery conference pool. I've been to Bouchercon, Sleuthfest, Writer's Police Academy, Killer Nashville, and I'm headed to Left Coast Crime this year.

I love the energy at conferences, but 2 or 3 a year is a stretch for my budget.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to add

When Words Collide
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
August 9-11, 2013
Pre-convention mystery workshop with Barbara Fradkin, who is also the mystery guest of honor
August 7-8, 2013
A multi-genre convention for readers and writers. Mysteries, science fiction, young adult, fantasy, and romance programming streams.

Kris said...

LOVE! I was just browsing for upcoming events. You have put them all in one place. BRAVO!

Sarah Glass said...

To Kris, yes we add these to our events calendar, but sometimes to see the list so that you can browse a pick and choose, rather than be confined to a calendar, is so helpful. Especially for people new to visiting conferences!

Rammy Jones said...

I will come back to this place, its huge and open, and have really tall ceilings. Wait staff was also pretty good. Bartender was awesome and personable. I was really pleased with my party at venue NYC here. Ha! I highly recommend these guys.

kold_kadavr_ flatliner said...

Here's summore convent wisdom:

Dats d'fak, Jak:

When our soul leaves our body
and we riseabove to meet our Maker,
only four, last things remain:
death, judgement, Heaven or Hell.
(which is exactly what happened to me:
Im an NDE - my colorFULL nomenclature).

Find-out what RCIA is and join
(ya might wanna check-out
'Lui et Moi' by Gabrielle Bossis -
a French writer, translated;
a wonderfull novel which'll
ROCK, YOUR, WORLD, earthling).

Make Your Choice -SAW

kold_kadavr_ flatliner said...

Here's summore convent wisdom:

Dats d'fak, Jak:

When our soul leaves our body
and we riseabove to meet our Maker,
only four, last things remain:
death, judgement, Heaven or Hell.
(which is exactly what happened to me:
Im an NDE - my colorFULL nomenclature).

Find-out what RCIA is and join
(ya might wanna check-out
'Lui et Moi' by Gabrielle Bossis -
a French writer, translated;
a wonderfull novel which'll
ROCK, YOUR, WORLD, earthling).

Make Your Choice -SAW

kold_kadavr_ flatliner said...

wanna PEACE
of Me??