I don't think the conventional label will ever fit me, but I'm going to do the "convention" thing this year. I'm attending Malice Domestic for the first time this year, April 21-23. Many people have urged that I go--that it is not just for "cozy" writers, that you get to meet all sorts of writers and that many fans attend the convention. Well, I'm always up to meeting new people--I just didn't want to feel like a renegade--my writing definitely is not cozy. I'm looking to connect with some authors of color--(Sisters in Crime has a group that calls themselves Authors of Color but they don't seem to have any particular agenda or purpose). Any African-American writers out there attending? I'd really like to know how much of a presence we have at these conventions. We have many more writers now than we did, say, ten years ago--I wonder if we are being represented or are a growing part of the "conventional"--membership in MWA, Sisters in Crime, participate in conventions? I confess I don't see many at membership meetings.
I'm also going to attend Bouchercon , September 28- October 1, the mother of all conventions, and see what all the hoo-hoo is about. Last year, I confess to being intimidated by the sheer size of it, and elected rather to attend a smaller conference, Sleuthfest. I was pleasantly surprised, did the networking thing, and met quite a few fans and writers. For my virgin journey, it wasn't too bad.
The best for me was the Friends of Chester Himes Black Mystery Writers Conference, to be held May 20th this year in Oakland, (FOCH). I've heard criticisms re: the attendance at this conference, not publicized enough, not organized as well as it could be, but it seems to be the singular conference experience for Black Mystery Writers. I met other writers that I probably would never have known existed, because walking into a bookstore, it is not always an easy thing to identify African-American mystery writers in their genre. (We're not always shelved as mystery writers, but looped together with all other African-American writers.)
I ask these questions and feel I'm sometimes talking to air, but if any writers out there have a comment concerning this topic, please post. Also let me know if you'll be attending any of these or similar writing conferences. Hey! Anyone done the writers cruise ship thang?
Sunday, February 12, 2006