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...


Anonymous said...

Vanda - It sounds as though you had a terrific time. I'm so glad everything went well, and of course, it's wonderful that you got to talk to Val McDermid. Thanks for sharing : ).

Kiwicraig said...

Sounds like an awesome evening Vanda. I'm really looking forward to meeting Val in person tomorrow when she's in Auckland.

PS The Herald has put my feature on her online (previously rare for the Herald, with books articles, but seems to be more common lately), so all those smart people who live outside of Auckland can now read it too:

Vanda Symon said...

Hi Margot - it was a real buzz to be able to meet Val. She's a fun lady.

Thanks for the link, Craig - great article. I still despair we can't get the Herald at all down here where the sensible people live.

Erin (Homemade Cards by Erin) said...

sounds like a smashing evening!

Kiwicraig said...

Had a blast meeting her in Auckland. Fantastic woman.

She put in a plug for the Ngaio Marsh Award and Kiwi crime writing, in front of the 80-100 people in the Women's Bookshop too, which was nice of her.