A short break in Bristol

I’ve mentioned before that I have dipped my toe in the waters of crime festivals and conventions, and I have to confess that I still haven’t been brave enough to commit to a whole weekend attendance – but I have just managed a whole day at this year’s Crimefest in Bristol.

Armed with a day pass for the programme on the Saturday I managed to fit in three panels, saw interviews with Lee Child and Sue Grafton, as well as the interview of David Hewson and Søren Sveistrup to mark the launch of The Killing.

It was a very enjoyable day – and when I found a few people I knew from twitter (bloggers and authors) things got even better.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but if you’re considering making your first foray then my top tips would be:

  • Take snacks – you may get too caught up in conversations and panels to catch a meal, and hotel food can be expensive.
  • Know the real names of your Twitter friends (and ideally what they look like). It’s very difficult having to peer at people’s name badges all day.
  • Read the programme early on in the day – since I came home and read it I keep thinking “saw that name badge – oh they were an author!”
  • Be prepared to see authors completely out of context (PD James in the hotel lift, Lee Child on the mean streets of Bristol).
  • Find time to chat to people. The schedule can be busy and it would be easy to hurtle from one panel to another via a signing without making the time to speak to real people.
  • Take a big bag (perhaps on wheels) for all those signed books you will be returning home with.

And finally:

  • Beware of FOMO (fear of missing out) if you choose not spend the same amount of time at the event as all your friends!

If you’re an old hand at these events – what would your tips be?



  1. Sounds great Sue, I would love to go to one of these one day, though I would be a bit nervous. I’m trying to go to more author events and really enjoying those, and the book blogger meet was great, hopefully there’ll be some more of those.

    1. It was good fun – knowing some of the people from Twitter before I went was a help. There seem to be plenty of options where you don’t have to commit to a whole weekend though.
      Would be good to see you at another event!

  2. It was nice to see you albeit briefly Suzi. I was there for the whole time and actually found it exhausting so for the Harrogate Crime Festival in July I’m just going for the Sat/Sun. And if I miss out, so be it,. My other tip would be to find a cafe with wifi. The hotel’s wifi was £15 per day which is outrageous especially for those of us who were staying in a room!

    1. You too. One of the disadvantages I found in just going on the one day was not having much free time to speak to people. I ducked out the P D James interview & that gave me a chance to catch up with a couple. Good tip on the WiFi, so often true of hotels.

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