Bouchercon 2008 will be in Baltimore, MD..
What a morning. Our bid was accepted today. Judy Bobalik and I will work for the next 3 years to forward the dream and the actuality of Bouchercon. We got the news at 7:30 a.m. I left for work at eight. When I got home at seven this evening there was e-mail. Lots of e-mail and it’s only the beginning. NOBODY really knows yet.
So 2008 from October 9th to October 12th . Mark the dates , be there , it will be an event of international proportion celebrating that genre we all love. The groundwork is firmly planted. We have the Wyndham Inner Harbor as our host hotel. The Radisson has agreed to host our overflow and both are right off of Baltimore’s fabled Inner Harbor. Three bars and two hotels, it’s a good start.
The city of Baltimore is the true beginning. Just look at what’s there. Poe permeates from the pavement. Cain cries from the sky. Author Martha Grimes is a presence and J.D. Robb is just down the street. Members of the Mid-eastern MWA include a myriad of authors new and renowned. Baltimore itself includes an impressive cast. Cockney, Massey and Hunter to name but a few…
Okay one more… Laura Lippman.
Bouchercon 2008 Guest of Honor
Laura Lippman has established herself as one of the most important and original novelists of her generation. Her books are ambitious, exciting, and explore the human condition with uncommon depth. I can think of no other writer more worthy of the Guest of Honor slot at Bouchercon 2008 than Laura Lippman.
Laura Lippman is a writer’s writer. She is a singular voice in a world where they are hard to find. When I first met this lady across a crowded room, she caught my attention. Then she caught my ear. And now annually she catches my eye. No reader can resist magical words and Lippman’s go a step beyond the mere magical to cohesive. There is no writer today as accessible to a wider readership than Laura Lippman.
and on that first day….
Nothing is more magical while planning a convention than deciding the fan guests of honor. Baltimore was a given (if you really want the story reply to this post and I’ll offer it). Laura came easy due to the locale but to follow the path of Boucher and the many who had hosted Bouchercon previously we had to be true to the spirit of our community as well. It comes too easily.
Bouchercon 2008 International Guest of Honor
John Harvey's Resnick Decalogue reinvented the British police procedural and everything he's written since has served only to emphasize his place as one of the finest exponents of the genre anywhere in the world. But what makes him the perfect choice for IGOH is that he's also one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet in a month of murder.
- Val McDermid
John Harvey is a master of words. He may understand the concept of “crime fiction” better than any other living human being. He walks the walk ladies and gentlemen. There isn’t a more giving or talented person within the mystery community and hey, I’ll even put on a convention to get him to come.
Bouchercon 2008 Toastmaster
Mark Billingham is a one-off. With an appreciation for our genre like no other he amazes me time after time (and not in the Cydni Lauper sense). Mark was a reader first. He saw something in the novels of Pelecanos and Burke, Rankin and Harvey he thought he’d be able to tap into and add something to. It’s hard to believe how relatively new he is to this genre as a writer. Reading his books is a sheer joy. The first is special. And like the snowball at the top of the hill the momentum is added until you come to LIFELESS. Talent in combination with understanding of what your writing does elevate you to the top. But Mark? You seem a bit British to me, what’s up with that?
And folks, Mark has a past. Yep that’s right. He was a stand up comedian before catching his big break as a writer (how many writers are laughing). He is so perfect for toastmaster I’ll give Judy and myself a pat on the back before anyone else has the chance. As well as writing the best selling Thorne novels you can occasional see Mark perform “the hustle” on BBC America. Also his backyard is now infamous but you can ask him about that when you see him in Baltimore.
Bouchercon 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award Winners
“It's hard to know where to start when you're thinking about their contributions. Is it Barbara's knowledge of the genre, her choice of authors to publish, her exquisite editing skills, her ability to pull together the best conferences west of the Mississippi, the fact that she knows everyone in the business and tells them exactly what she thinks -- about everything? And what about Rob, who, almost single handedly, publishes 50 hardcover mysteries a year, an equal number of trade paperbacks, knows PhotoShop better than anyone I know, and is probably one of the nicest people in this business? Hey... and that's just for starters... Thinking about what they'll be doing for the next 3 years makes me tired…”
-Libby Fischer Hellmann
Robert Rosenwald and Barbara Peters. They are the mystery community. Not its entirety but certainly its ideal. Sequestered in the Arizona desert they have become a destination. Prospective writers send manuscripts to that barren state hoping for a reply from the press or maybe just one of the best editors available. Published authors know their book is a reality when they have a signing at one of Barbara’s bookstores. This pair continues to say, ”we can do this.” This year they’ve opened a branch of the publishing business in the U.K., published a library of books when the market says it can’t be done and their second bookstore is doing beyond well in a market where outdoor activities are a year long possibility. They do this because they love a mystery and they outdo themselves every year. Like Libby I’m tired just thinking where they’ll be three years from now.
Bouchercon 2008 Fan Guest of Honor
It's great that Thalia has received due superfan recognition. We British crime writers know her for her tireless work behind the counter at several London mystery stores; her passion for crime fiction; her laughter at conventions (in the bar, natch); her honesty as a reviewer (when she used to compile bookshop catalogues, if she hadn't read a particular book or didn't know an author's work, she'd own up to same... unlike many of us!). She knows the world of felonious fiction inside and out... and is even managing to scrape a living from it (working in publishing and as a literary scout). She's fun to be around and will doubtless grace the Bouchercon with her usual bonhomie and decorum, as only an English rose truly can.
Protocol may dictate that I spell honor- honour. Thalia is British. I met the lady at my first Bouchercon but it was the D.C. convention where I first spent time with her. She loves books. I saw a tee shirt the other day, “I am a fan base of one”. If Thalia is your one you have it made. She knows almost everything mystery there is to know. She’ll tell you she’s a fan of American works and then rattle off twenty British writers no American has ever heard of who need to be read. She’s sold the books, valued (for collectors) the books, edited the books, and she’s read them all.
But what makes Thalia special is her Id. She never thought twice about attending B-Con Washington three weeks after 9-11. She’s never thought twice about any decision to do with mystery. She comes and she supports us all by being there. She spreads the word. New books are offered up for readers. Support for writers is always available. And at every Bouchercon no one appreciates the location quite like this lady. Four day conventions turn into three week adventures.
Her sense of excitement about mystery and Bouchercon is infectious. It’s been a long time since the fan guest of honor was anything but an American and Thailia, she’s just right. The cream in our coffee, the kick in our step. She offers up not only what Bouchercon is and has been but also what it will become. She’ll make sure everyone is at home in Baltimore and with her eye, she may well guide you single-handedly to an experience you’ll never forget.
I’m going to sign off now but after all we have three years!