Monday, August 23, 2010
Val McDermid hits Dunedin
On Friday I got to drag myself out of my study induced incarceration to make the most of crime writer extraordinaire Val McDermid's visit to Dunedin.
Thanks to fellow Dunedin crime writer Liam McIlvanney twisting her arm while at the Harrogate Festival, Val's NZ tour was extened to include the Edinburgh of the South. To us down here it seemed altogether logical that the Scottish writer should come here first!
A very appreciative crowd turned out on Friday evening to hear her talk at the Otago Settlers Museum, and she kept us thoroughly entertained with her stories about writing, her new novel Trick of the Dark, and some of her writerly processes, including testing characters by talking out loud with them while walking her dog along her neighbourhood beach. Luckily the locals have got used to it!
After the event I had the privilege of going out to dinner with Val, Liam McIlvanney and a few others to Dunedin's best Scottish bistro and Whisky Bar, Scotia. Scotia has over 300 whiskies to choose from if you fancy a dram. It was a very entertaining evening, and the meal was fantastic.
One of the highlights for me was the discussions about crime fiction and crime writers. Val McDermid is incredibly knowledgeable about writers, as is Liam, who is the Stuart Chair in Scottish Studies at the University of Otago, and one of the other guests who also lectures in crime fiction. I learned an awful lot and as a result will have to add a mountain of writers to my must read list. So a brilliant evening all around.
I also pre-recorded a radio interview with Val which will be broadcast on the Write On Radio Show on September the 8th - but I shall remind folk about that closer to the date.
It was one of those evenings that left me feeling invigorated and rearing to get stuck into writing the next novel...