Forthcoming Events!

We’re really happy that this year even though the main festival is over we still have events going on, long may it continue!

Scroll down for forthcoming events.

First up, we’re partnering with the library for a WORLD BOOK NIGHT event:

WBN wfsite

Next there’s the first of a regular WORDfest Open Mic in collaboration with Create for Crawley we’re very excited by this!

Sunday 28th April 7:30pm £3/2 @ The Portuguese Café near The Railway pub on the Brighton Road.

WF OM 28.4.13

Then on May 9th we’ve had our hand in promoting an exhibition at Crawley Library ‘The Mysterious Mr. Marsh’


Someone Else’s Son by Sam Hayes

Listen to Sam Hayes reading the first few pages from her latest novel Someone Else’s Son.

If this doesn’t make you want to come and meet her at the Meet The Crime Writers panel discussion tomorrow then I think you might be made of tin.

Meet The Crime Writers is being held at County Mall Crawley Food Court at 6.30pm on Saturday 2nd April. Joining Sam are Andrew Martin, Julia Crouch and Peter Lovesey. Tickets £3.



5 Questions for Peter Lovesey

Peter Lovesey’s first novel WOBBLE TO DEATH introduced the redoubtable Victorian policemen, Cribb and Thackeray. He won the Gold Dagger Award with THE FALSE INSPECTOR DEW and in 2000 joined the elite group of people awarded the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award.

What was the last book you read?
Storyteller: the Life of Roald Dahl, by Donald Sturrock. These days Dahl is regarded mainly as a children’s writer, but he produced some classic crime short stories as well. Sturrock’s biography is full of insights into this strange, gifted and not very likeable man. I’ve always felt a debt of gratitude to Dahl for the Tales of the Unexpected TV series because when the format was opened up to other writers it gave us good opportunities for us to come in on his coat-tails. I now have a better understanding of the mind that could write the brilliant Lamb to the Slaughter.

Which book would you recommend to a younger version of you that hadn’t read it?
Strangers on a Train, by Patricia Highsmith. Of course most people remember the Hitchcock film, but the book is even better, essential reading. I’ve always been fascinated by stories that tell the tale from the murderer’s point of view and no one does this better than Highsmith. This one has more interest for me than her Ripley novels because here we have an unwilling killer trapped into the act as part of a pact. It’s a fascinating idea, done with such economy.

What was the first book you remember having a big impression on you as a child?
When I was seven and discovering the magic of reading, our house was bombed by one of Hitler’s “doodlebugs” and we were homeless. With no books to read, I was desperate until my father brought in The Life of Sir Edward Marshall Hall, by Edward Marjoribanks. Not a promising title, yet it had me enthralled, for Marshall Hall was the great defence barrister of the early twentieth century and each chapter unfolded a real case he was involved in: the Brides in the Bath, the Green Bicycle Murder; Dr Crippen. After that, how could I be anything else but a crime writer?

When writing numerous books with recurring central characters do you find that you grow to love the character more or like them less?
I don’t think “love” is the right word for the way I feel about them, and even “like” doesn’t do it. I’m getting to know them, seeing how they cope in their job and in life. They become real to me, but I don’t necessarily admire them. If Peter Diamond knocked on my door I doubt if I’d invite him in. He is the longest running character in my books and this is only because I gave him a life-changing experience mid-way through. Up to then I felt I was getting to understand him too well. If the character gets predictable, then so do the books, and that’s a trap for a writer. In the new novel, called Stagestruck, Diamond is instructed to investigate a murder mystery in the Theatre Royal, Bath. His difficulty is that he has a phobia about entering the theatre. If he is to solve the crime, he must first face his own demons. So as the author I watch and try to make sense of his behaviour.

With the recent success of The King’s Speech, do you have any plans to re-release the sleuthing escapades of Bertie, Prince of Wales?
I doubt if “my” Bertie, the grandfather of King George VI, would make it into the cinema, but I had fun imagining him as a rather incompetent amateur detective. As Prince of Wales, he was bored waiting for his chance to become King, so it was reasonable that he should find something else to interest him besides ladies, horses and the South of France. The most amusing of the three to write was Bertie and the Seven Bodies, a sort of tribute to Agatha Christie in her centenary year, with a corpse for each day of the week at a house party and a nursery rhyme to help predict the outcome.

Peter Lovesey will be appearing on the Crime Writers Panel at WORDfest on Saturday April 2nd.

5 questions for Julia Crouch

Before becoming a writer, you were a graphic designer/illustrator. Do you think being such a visually literate person has informed your writing in any way?

Yes – I tend to write with my eyes. I ‘see’ the scenes as I’m writing them. If I get stuck, I shut my eyes and play the ‘movie’.

A big part of my work as a designer/illustrator was drawing. If you’ve ever sat and drawn anything, you’ll have observed something closely – a great exercise for all writers. Simiilarly, looking for the right image, typeface and layout to get the client’s message across is all about defining character, detail, tone and narrative. More or less what a novelist does. The structuring, logical part of a designer’s thinking is also very handy for the second draft.

You’ve recently had your first book released. Has the experience of being published differed in any ways to your expectations?

Publication day was a bit weird – I’m on a deadline for novel #2, so it was more or less business as usual during the day – except for a tad more tweeting and blogging than normal. The launch the following day was better than I could have expected – Brighton Waterstones, wine provided by publishers, new frock, stacks of my books, loads of friends and colleagues, signings and sales. And I’ve got lots of author events lined up for the next few months, so the public side of it is very much as I had hoped (I like getting out and about).

The process leading up to publication was wonderful. It is such a great feeling to have people taking your work seriously and to work with an agent and an editor to make it as good as it possibly could be. As is the case for most writers, this followed years of working on my own, in my spare time, with publication only a wild dream. Now I get to write full time. Life is good.

Can you remember the first book that you read as a child that had a big impact on you?

I guess it’s got to be The Cat in the Hat, the first book I read on my own, at a precocious three years old. I remember being so excited by the imagination at play there – the way the words could lead to anything, the feel of the pages, the big broad flat planes of colour…

I always had my nose stuck in a book – it was a bit of a family joke in our decidedly unbookish family that I could always be found at parties curled up behind the sofa, lost in my own little world.

An illustration of the importance reading plays in my life is that when I arrived in the marvellous city of Venice for the first time, on my own, aged 19, I checked into the Youth Hostel there, but I didn’t go out and explore. Instead, I spent the next three days on my bunk, completely gripped by John Fowles’s The Magus. Venice could wait. I had to finish that book first.

What was the last book you read?
Funnily enough, I’m just finishing Someone Else’s Son by Sam Hayes, and I’m loving it. She is such a great storyteller, and captures the darker side of life brilliantly. The book suffered a hiatus when I left it, half-read, in the hairdresser, so before I went and picked it up I read The Hand that First Held mine, by Maggie Farrell. I loved that too – the characters really come to life, and there’s a great sense of London in it. It is ultimately a hopeful book about love, but there is a thread of threat wound through it that keeps the pages turning.

Which book would you recommend to a younger version of you that hadn’t yet read it?

The Summer Book by Tove Janssen – although it would have been difficult, because it was only translated into English about 8 years ago. This simple story was the book I read that made me realise that I could write a novel. It’s nothing like my own work, but there is something about the way the setting and character and story work that I found incredibly inspiring. Perhaps if I’d read it sooner, I’d have got started earlier!

Julia Crouch will be appearing on the Crime Writers Panel at WordFest. Find out more about her and her writing on her website. Her debut novel, Cuckoo, is out now.