Saturday, 19 March 2016

Women of Mystery

Helen Cadbury, Danuta Reah, Sophie Hannah, Alison Taft
Megan Amelia Smith writes:

The darkness of the room in the New Headingley Club and the dark subjects discussed by the panel (the writers all showed a fascination with pathological liars and psychopaths) bears no reflection on the atmosphere of the event. The audience were gripped one moment and laughing aloud the next as the writers responded to questions with both enthusiasm and humour.

Helen Cadbury led the intriguing discussion, joined by fellow writers Sophie Hannah, Danuta Reah and Alison Taft. The writers touched on a range of topics, from which authors inspired them to write crime fiction (Agatha Christie was of course a resounding favourite) to the importance of conducting research for their books. Questions such as whether writers set their work in a real or fictional place came down to their personal preference, while the writers were in unison on the idea that both the whodunit and whydunit are complex and integral parts of their crime stories.

The most thought-provoking aspect of the discussion came when Helen asked the writers how much of ‘them’ are written into their books. The answers that came were both varied and in agreement. It seems that the writers all add elements of their own personalities into their characters, but as Alison explained, without suppression of emotions such as anger. Similarly, they agreed that most writers do not do so just to tell a story. Instead it is often an unconscious desire to answer a question, explore a theme or indeed to give a message. For any budding writer both notions are fascinating.

Overall, we were given fantastic insight into the minds of crime fiction writers: according to Helen she’s always looking for good places to hide bodies! For both voracious readers and aspiring writers of all genres the evening was truly inspirational.

Audience Comments
                      Photos by Richard Wilcocks
Excellent, entertaining and informative in a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere. Good to be able to meet these writers in Leeds. Thank you very much to them and Headingley Lit organisers.

A wonderful evening. The format of the chair asking questions to all the panel, followed by audience questions. Excellent and thoughtful speakers.
Illuminating (& entertaining) discussion, which brought out well common elements and differences between the speakers, and made me think about aspects of crime (etc) writing that I'd not thought about before. The relaxed rapport between panel members helped establish the right atmosphere.

I am so glad I came to this event. This 'genre' is not one that I had given priority to - but now I want to read all four authors. I found the format open and inclusive - the range of questions from within the panel meant that their discussion was free ranging and both funny and stimulating. i was sorry the lights were put out at the back because I could not see to take notes! Thoroughly enjoyed this event.

Well led by Helen Cadbury. Very interesting, good to hear them speak in person and get a feeling for the people behind the books.

An excellent evening with interesting crime novelists who answered our questions very well.

Very interesting. Great to hear the panellists interacting and responding to the questions.

Fascinating insight into the minds of the different writers and their motivations. Entertaining and informative.

Enjoyed the session and listening to writers in this field discuss their motivation, how they do it and what makes them tick.

Very interesting, at times bordering on the philosophical. A wide range of view from the panellists.

Excellent, informative and funny. I have now made a list of new books to try. Many thanks.

Excellent - absolutely fascinating. I will start my novel!

Good value - 4 different interesting writers. Interesting to hear about their influences.

Very well chaired and interesting clear answers. Could have done with less about pathological lying.

Very interesting evening - good format. Accessible venue.

Really enjoyable and absolutely fascinating. I've even gone away with a couple of new authors' names to try via the library. Thank you!

Fascinating insight into crime fiction plus humorous insights into the writing and situations.

Very interesting evening. Seating could take sight lines into account to afford better view.

Very good, well rounded presentation.

Interesting insights into the process of developing ideas.

Excellent panel and discussion

Interesting conversations. An hour wasn't enough. Would benefit from microphones.

Very interesting conversations.



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