If you have never been #doonthewatter to Rothesay then you are missing out on a treat and if you are a crime fiction fan then you are missing out on what is one of the best wee Crime Fiction Festivals in the land. #ButeNoir is now in its 3rd year and shows no signs of slowing down. With tickets for this event selling out in less than two weeks, this wee festival is gaining a mighty reputation indeed!
This is my second year attending, last year I was only able to attend for the day but this year I was there much longer! And even better than that my #Twinnie aka Noelle of Crimebookjunkie was there to join me for our #TwinniesOntour stop! Talk about excited! I also have to give a huge thanks to #Twinnie for stepping in at the last-minute for me to chair Craig Robertson and Denzil Meyrick’s “Our People and Places.
I wasn’t able to get the Bute until the Saturday evening which meant, unfortunately, I missed out on some of the events. However, there were a few of the blogging community there who will be sharing their thoughts on the events I couldn’t attend!
My first stopping point when I got off the Ferry was, of course, the wonderful Print Point, a fantastic independent bookshop run by one of the most enthusiastic and welcoming booksellers ever! You really need to visit Rothesay and go visit Karen at the shop! Thousands of books, stationery, coffee and a warm welcome awaits you! Thankfully I hadn’t missed out on Karen’s mum’s legendary cakes and that sugar hit was just what I needed to set me off for the evening!
A quick trip to the B&B to dump my bags and then #Twinnie and I had a quick “refreshment” along with a bag of chips wrapped in newspaper from Zavaroni’s by the sea! (We did drink the refreshment in the pub and not out on the streets I hasten to add!)
We then headed along to the Museum for A Question of Court, hosted by the toughest quizmaster ever, Craig Robertson with two teams: Chris Brookmyre with Abir Mukherjee and Helen Fitzgerald against Luca Veste with Mari Hannah and Yrsa Sigurdardottir. Cries of fix were heard when Chris Brookmyre’s team won by half a point!
And talking about winning – a nail-biting Pitch and Putt event had been held earlier in the day and all participants were delighted (no really they were delighted!) that Graeme Macrae Burnet had been crowned the winner of the Brookmyre Cup. He was presented with the prestigious cup which he gracefully accepted!
This was followed by the funniest ever Mr & Mrs & Mrs! Craig and Alex; Luca and Emma; Mari and Mo; Yrsa and Oli battled it out to be crowned the golden couple! Hosted by the suave and sophisticated Michael J Malone the audience were privy to answers such as Craig’s description of Alex’s outfit when they first met as “black jeans and an upper body garment” to Oli and Yres carrying a sheep head home in their luggage to Mari claiming the first meal that Mo ever cooked her was Duck a la Orange to which Mo replied she wouldn’t even know where to get a duck!
We rounded off the night in Mac’s bar discussing the merits of barefoot living with Graeme Macrae Burnet, his partner Jen, Craig and Michael! Saying no more on this subject!
Sunday morning was a leisurely start to the day with some delicious coffee from the newest coffee shop on the island, Helmi’s. If you go over to Rothesay please don’t forget to have a wee visit, we never sampled the pastries but my mouth was watering looking at them!
The first event of the day was in Print Point for “Bloody Bute” with Myra Duffy, Alanna Knight and Michael J Malone talking with Craig Robertson about Bute as a setting for their novels. Some fascinating insight into island life and what makes it so appealing for crime writers. All agreed that Bute was an island that held a certain magical quality and having spent some time there I can wholeheartedly agree!
Then it was off to the library for “Hold the Front Page” with Douglas Skelton hosting Anna Smith and Craig Robertson…only Craig admitted to having ever said those immortal words during his career as a journalist! They talked about the changes in journalism from the days gone by of smokey press offices and legendary long lunches to the present time and the influence of social media on the profession. Today’s world has a focus on immediacy and celebrity news and while there are positives in news being available around the clock there is a sense of sadness about the celebrity culture which has taken over the press more recently. Both authors have long careers in the industry and we heard of some of the darker stories they had to cover from Dunblane to Rwanda and the strong grounding that their background has provided them as writers.
Jumping to the museum next door to “Watching the Detectives” with Douglas Skelton grilling Denzil Meyrick, James Oswald and Alex Gray. The authors discussed the popularity of the genre and how they keep their writing fresh as their series develop and grow. Each of the authors talked about their own influences and why they think the public has an insatiable thirst for crime fiction. However, the serious discussion soon descended into a discussion about seven-foot blue rabbits and dragons…don’t even ask!
The final event was “The Last Stand” a quick-fire round of questions from Craig Robertson and mystery interviewer, Megan Veste, Luca’s youngest daughter who certainly put Anna Smith, Douglas Skelton, Myra Duffy, Alex Gray Luca Veste and Alexandra Sokoloff through their paces!
The best thing about being a writer
Anna: – the freedom
Alex Sokoloff – to be able to write the book you always wanted to read
Douglas – coming to Bute Noir & Bloody Scotland
Myra – it allows us to get the characters who talk to us in our head onto paper
Alex Gray – making friends that are other writers
Luca – knowing that you are not alone within the writing community
Megan grilled them on their writing and eating habits which led to a serious craving for McDonalds for myself and #Twinnie! They talked about JK Rowling, favourite trees, what riles you as a writer, favourite Disney princesses and embarrassing moments! All secrets are safe with me, after all, what happens on Bute…
And so it was over, all too soon and a countdown is on for Bute Noir 2019! Huge thanks to all involved in putting the event together and for creating another memorable weekend!