The NZ Book Council, in their valiant quest to further the cause of writing and reading, put together an excellent event last night. Bringing together the singular talents of Neil Cross, Vanda Symon and Paul Cleave, ‘Murder They Wrote’ was a fascinating and disturbingly funny look into the inner life and processes of Kiwi crime writers. It was very well chaired by Book Council president Noel Murphy.
Mary McCallum, a fellow NZ scribe, was obviously enchanted with the evening judging from her blog, O Audacious Book, and justifiably so: it was a terrific night full of acerbic wit (something probably endemic to crime writers), revealing insights and lively discussion. I never thought I’d find a writer (in this case Paul Cleave) talking about his serial killer creation so disarming and funny. Neil Cross is obviously a deeply intelligent man unafraid of voicing his opinion on the many matters of writing life and he gave, with enthusiastic support and commentary from Symon and Cleave, an extremely articulate attack on the limitations of ‘genre bias’ in the literary world, mourning the readers lost opportunities through preconceived ideas and summing up with a straight forward definition of books being either good or bad, genre itself being irrelevant.
We were glad to have been the booksellers for the event and, judging by sales and the number of customers delving through our table of books, the event was a big success. Keep an eye on the Book Council’s website for further events; they have an excellent calendar that allows you to stay informed of upcoming events in the book world.