Stevie Carroll (stevie_carroll) wrote,
Stevie Carroll

Crime Day and Early Feminists at Havant Literary Festival

Sunday the 6th of October at Havant Lit Fest 2013 had far too many interesting items for me to possibly attend all of them. Various discussions of the suffragettes and early feminists were scheduled against a whole day of crime writers, including our own charliecochrane along with her gang, the Deadly Dames. So I booked to see them, topped off by Women Make History!, which happened to be taking place in the same venue.

Due to the vagaries of trains, I arrived quite a bit early and so buzzed about trying to help various authors set up. As well as the advertised authors (minus Alison Joseph, who was unwell), there was some bloke what had written a book and, having had his event cancelled, had been offered a slot for his factual book on prison with the authors of crime fiction. For reasons best known to him, he decided he absolutely had to have an entire table on which to display his book and set up his laptop. Still, trying to be helpful, I pointed out that table space should be allocated by dividing the number of authors by the number of tables, but to no avail. Fortunately all those crime writers got on splendidly with each other and were generally British about having 2/3 of a table less than the ideal on which to display their works. NB Apologies to the people trying to have a discussion about Julian of Norwich while people were setting up; I may have got slightly agitated.

Once that was all sorted, there was just time for tea and cake before the first discussion on crime fiction. I had a carrot cupcake with sparkles on top (supplied by Polka Dot Cakes:
Havant Lit Fest 061013 (3)

First up was a discussion on Carol Westron's new book (The Terminal Velocity of Cats) of which I have a copy, and new publishing venture, Pentangle Press.

Following that we met new-to-me author, Leigh Russell who writes an awful lot of crime every year (pictured here on the left):
Havant Lit Fest 061013 (6)

In fact she writes so much that she's started a spin-off series by moving the two detectives from her first few books to different cities in order for them to have a series each.

In place of Alison Joseph's sheduled talk, Carol interviewed Eileen Robertson about her latest book, We'll be Watching You:
Havant Lit Fest 061013 (11)

Eileen writes mainly about older characters solving mysteries, and treated us to excerpts from all three of her books.

In the middle of all this, I nipped out and got some very tasty noodles from a van outside (there were interesting foodie exchanges going on too with the tea and cake dispensers buying noodles and vice versa). Then we had the main event: all four Deadly Dames plus Leigh and that bloke with the book on prison (who'd been working on his new book all day when other authors were mingling with readers):
Havant Lit Fest 061013 (18)

Lots of excellent questions got flung at them all from the audience, including which detectives from classic fiction would get on best with their characters, and which reference book and crime fiction would they want on their desert island.

And that was the end of the Crime Day. Next up was Women Make History!, a discussion panel consisting of Lucienne Boyce, Lucy Fisher, Lucinda Hawksley and Natalie Bennett,:
Havant Lit Fest 061013 (21)

Talis Kimberley introduced the topic with a song:
Havant Lit Fest 061013 (22)

The panel then alternately took questions from the audience and discussed some lesser remembered women from history, including Lady Eleanor Davies (Leveller and prophet), Isabella Whitney (middle class poet), Moll Cutpurse/Mary Frith and Katherine Chidley (Leveller and originator of petitions to Parliament on women's rights).

I could have stayed in Havant for a pub quiz, but decided not to risk the trains, and so got home in good time.

I have interviewed the Deadly Dames (plus Leigh), and their answers will be appearing on Women and Words
Tags: havant lit fest, on writing, out and about, photos, print books, publishing, real life, women writers of the past
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