There are Mysterious Goings on in Literary Morecambe
A Review of the Morecambe and Vice Festival
An array of hats, talk of murder and other crimes, music filling the air and an art deco-hotel mixed together with a sense of quirkiness – it could only be The Morecambe and Vice Festival.
The weekend just past (28th-29th September) found me in Morecambe at the Morecambe and Vice Festival. A diverse and quirky crime festival that is in its third year. I first came here last year to meet Hugh Fraser (played Captain Hastings in Poirot and many other roles and is an author) – that’s a whole other story…
I had barely started my blog when I was first at the festival, and now with my blog being a year old, and grown somewhat, I was so pleased that kindly, the organisers invited me to review their festival on my blog. It was such a pleasure and privilege. It was an incredible opportunity given by Tom Fisher and Ben Cooper-Muir.
Morecambe feels like it is on the up again. There is a second series of The Bay being filmed there and they are getting The Eden Project and there is of course this wonderful festival called Morecambe and Vice, which is not afraid of diverse subjects or of inviting authors and other speakers from across the UK.
All Ready to Begin with Tom and Ben
Morecambe and Vice is now, as previously mentioned, is in its third year, but the reality is so much different. It feels like it has been going for longer. It is so professional, welcoming and yet so relaxed. Tom and Ben have clearly put in a lot of effort into making this year, like last year, a success. This is a festival where authors (and audiences) seem to like to be able to return to, given the chance.
I arrived on Friday afternoon and took a look around the streets and of course along the seafront and got ready for the Saturday at The Midland Hotel. The Midland is a lovely art-deco hotel and has featured in some tv episodes of Poirot by Agatha Christie. It was a terrific venue. I loved The Winter Garden’s Theatre the year before, but The Midland was warmer. Who knows where the venue will be next year…
All Art-Deco at The Midland Hotel
Registration to introduce yourself and collect your badge was between 9:00am and 9:30am. It’s all wonderfully stress free and it was quite exciting seeing not only my name, but also my blog name on the badge. That was very nicely done.
The air was filled with music, including the theme tune to the Poirot tv series, which really grabbed everyone’s attention. All the music was very fitting for the time period and place where we were, which added perfectly to the amazing welcoming and exciting atmosphere that was building up as people began to fill the room. The stage was dressed and looking so good. I loved all the hats, so simple and yet so effective.
Stage is Set, Complete With Great Hats
The weekend was split into sections, after each panel had spoken, there was a very adequate interval for book signing opportunities and time to get a beverage. 1 hour for lunch was also well factored in. The atmosphere is fabulous with a pianist playing very well at each interval between the panels.
Over the entire weekend, there were 12 different panels of speakers – 6 each day.
- What’s the Worst That Could Happen – Crime and Thrillers in an Apocalyptic Setting with Lesley Kelly, Ceri Lowe and Matt Brolly. Moderated by Tom Fisher.
- Let them Lead the Way – Children’s and YA Crime with Nicki Thornton, Sarah Todd Taylor and Sharna Jackson. Moderated by Anne Coates
- Discussing Dyslexia with Fleur Hitchcock, Jane Elson and Jennie Finch. Participating Moderator – Margaret Murphy.
- Who, What, Where, When, Why – What can crime fiction tell us about the way works? With Academics – Mary Evans, Hazel Johnstone and Sarah Moore. Crime writers – William Shaw and Gytha Lodge.
- Partners in Crime with Adam Croft and surprise guest bring their podcast to the festival
- In Conversation with Lin Anderson – best selling author discusses her life and career with debut author Noelle Holten.
- Festival of Festivals – Festival organisers discuss what led them to partake in such insanity with Bob McDevitt, Quentin Bates, Dr. Jacky Collins. Moderator: Ben Cooper-Muir.
- Winner Winner – Prize winning authors discuss the pros and cons of their wins with Robert Scragg, Rachel Sargeant, Alison Belsham and Margaret Kirk.
- Till Death Do Us Part – What’s it like being in a relationship with another crime writer? with Nicola Upson and Mandy Morton. Interviewer – Graham Smith
- Femme Fatales with Eileen Wharton, Danielle Ramsey, Sheila Quigley, KA Richardson and moderated by Dr. Jacky Collins
- Let’s Talk: Mental Health Mental Health in Crime Fiction and how Crime Fiction can help with mental health with Dr. Liz Brewster and Dr. Chris Merritt and participating moderator – Barbara Nadel.
- In Conversation with Professor Dame Sue Black. The anthropologist, academic and author discusses her life and work with Ben Cooper-Muir.
This is a festival, even with the amount of travelling I have to do to get to it (3 trains), is absolutely a festival, if invited again, I would be delighted to return to and review. It is attracting some great authors and I love all that is on offer and the diversity. It was so interesting to meet lots of authors, including some great children’s and YA authors and some doctors and a forensic scientist. It was lots of fun that they had a podcast. It was all very different for a festival and I liked that a lot. I had a very enjoyable time and many happy memories were created of the place, the people I met and the festival as a whole.
With the scene now set, I will be also sharing my reviews of each panel over the coming week or so.