Saturday, July 23, 2011

The UK Underbelly.....

Martina Cole's 2 pack a day voice and North London accent set the scene for a hugely entertaining talk about her gritty books set in the murky underworld of London's East End and Essex. She has sold over 10 million books but at school one of her teachers said she 'would never amount to nothing' to which Martina replied 'it could be worse - I could be working in a sh*t school like this wearing the same jacket for thirty years' .. she is a straight talking woman.

We next met a number of authors who had for various reasons been in prison...Cass Pennant, Jonathan Aitken and perhaps most interesting Erwin James who served a life sentence for murder before becoming a Guradian columnist...a powerful session emphasising the redemptive power of writing.

So much to hear here and I don't want to bang on for too long but some highlights have included

  • Andrew Taylor' s appearance on the panel discussing psychological thrillers which included Sophie Hannah, sadly one of my favourites Camilla Lackberg, recently diagnosed with Lyme's disease was unable to attend.

  • Tess Gerritsen's session..the presenter broadcaster Jenni Murray said the most frightening night of her life was spent reading The Surgeon and Tess's son's friend said, after reading one of her books 'Dude, your Mum is sick'

  • S J Bolton describing her work as Scooby Doo-esque

  • The very witty Patricia Duncker

  • Val McDermid's Madonna impersonation with the cool hands free microphones they are using this year.

Will keep you posted...


  1. This spunds fabulous, Lisa. Green with envy. Hope you will do a talk for staff when you come back. Are you talking pics? You are not banging on: I could read much more!

  2. Hi, Lisa. I love Camilla Lackberg too. She's one of those Scandinavian crime superstars. I've just read "Before I go to sleep" as well. It would have been interesting to hear S.J. Watson talk. Such a unique book.