As part of The Metropolis Blue Literary Festival, I attended readings by three renowned international crime writers.
The readings were held at Drawn and Quarterly – a cozy, friendly book store in Mile End.
It was in Mile End that Mordecai Richler set his famous “The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz”. Since then, Mile End, one of Canada’s most densely populated artist communities, has become a thriving hub for not only musicians (Arcade Fire) but many artists, writers, photographers and filmmakers continue to migrate to this area.
Carlo Lucarelli, one of Italy’s best loved crime writers read from his second mystery novel,The Damned Season which features his Commissario de Luca. His De Luca trilogy, set in Italy at the end of World War II, became extremely successful and he has since published over a dozen novels and collections of stories.
I never know the ending of my novels. If I did it would be too boring to write.
Part of the magic of writing is to follow the characters and discover them. To dig deeply into the soul of your character.I like to be surprised when I write.
American writer Koethi Zan, read from her debut novel The Never List.
The moment she read these lines I wanted to read her book:
For us there was no such thing as fate. Fate was a word you used when you had not prepared, when you were slack, when you stopped paying attention. Fate was a weak man’s crutch.
When she finished her reading she sat next to me and so I struck up a conversation with her.
This being her first novel, I was curious about how she got published. It turns out that she is married to Stephen Metcalf, the writer-columnist at Slate who sent Zan’s manuscript to his agent.
I hate connections because I don’t have any. I told her that I was writing a crime novel but it wasn’t half as good as her writing.
She leaned close to me and said, “Every writer thinks this.”
For a whole year before writing this book I read nothing but crime fiction, in particular the Scandinavian crime writers.
I bought her book and started reading it. Connections or not, you have to know how to write and Koethi Zan sure does. Besides writing well, her book is a real page turner.
The final reader was the Austrian writer, Wolf Haas, known for his crime fiction featuring detective Simon Brenner.
Three volumes of his mystery series have been made into popular German language films. He has been awarded the German thriller prize and the 2004 Literature Prize from the City of Vienna.
You get ideas as you write. You learn a lot about yourself when you write a book.