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Bouchercon is the annual international convention of the mystery community. In 2017, it will be hosted in Toronto, Canada.

Sarah Byrne answers: “What Bouchercon has meant to me…”

I’ve been a fan of mysteries since the age of 10 when I stumbled upon a copy of Colin Watson‘s “Snobbery with Violence” misfiled in the children’s section of the Toowong Library, in Brisbane Australia, where I grew up. 

For a long time, I knew no one who really shared my enthusiasm.  In fact the first time I did find another person who really loved crime fiction I overreacted and got engaged to him. Luckily, before I made a really huge mistake, I found the wonderful – now sadly defunct – magazine Armchair Detective, realised that there was a whole international community of like-minded readers out there, and learned that I could actually get to meet them at this magical, miraculous event named Bouchercon.

I aspired to visit Bouchercon for years and years.  It seemed an unattainable Holy Grail.  How would I get there, and what would I do even if I made it?  I knew nobody; felt like I hadn’t read nearly enough to earn my stripes, and many of the authors listed had no distribution in Australia, so what could I say to them?  It seemed quite terrifying, but also potentially the best time I could ever have.  And so I yearned.

By 1998, I was finally earning enough to make my first ever overseas trip. 

Philadelphia is possibly not where most Australians dream of going for their first international holiday – but Bouchercon was there, so for me it was a no-brainer.  And it was glorious.  Everyone was friendly.  People would read my name tag, realise I was from Australia, and go out of their way to welcome me. Authors weren’t offended when I hadn’t read them, just pleased to meet a potential new fan.  When the bestselling authors’ panels were packed out, I could wander into another panel (generally wherever I heard the most laughter) and discover new and brilliant writers I wouldn’t otherwise have heard of. In the Dealers’ Room I bought a doormat with the imprint “Do You Have A Warrant?” –  which was hilarious up until the point the police knocked on my door about the burglary in the flat downstairs.

And then there was my favourite thing ever, the charity auction, and to this day I kick myself for not scraping up the US$110 it would have taken to win signed first editions of the first four novels from someone now very famous.

It was a few years before I could find the time and cash to make the pilgrimage again, but in 2005 I got myself to Chicago. And I’ve managed to attend again almost every year since, including Madison, Wisconsin, where I made no sense on a panel after 44 hours of travelling on five flights to get there. (Worse, on that last flight I was seated next to the Guest of Honour, hadn’t read a thing he’d written, and smelled and looked exactly as you would expect of a person who had spent 44 hours travelling in economy). And Alaska, where distance kept numbers low, but meant that I also got to meet several of my idols and have real conversations. (And where this year’s Co-Chairs and I serendipitously found a restaurant that was selling the 1998 vintage Grange Hermitage for less that I could have got it for at home.) 

So for the last 12 years, Bouchercon has been my respite and my oasis, and the thing I most look forward to every year. I’ve made wonderful friends, discovered brilliant writers, seen places I would not otherwise have thought to visit, and connected with the community that is closest to my heart.

To anyone wondering whether to take the plunge for the first time, stop wondering and DO IT.  Whether you’re a hermit or a hedonist, if you love mysteries, then you will find your bliss at Bouchercon.

The Passport – June 2017

The most recent issue, The Passport – June 2017 [PDF], is here and has been emailed out in PDF form.

Want to be on a panel???

The registration deadline to be considered for a panel is July 1.  (9 days away!!)

Have you filled out our panelists’ questionnaire? If not, go back to our Registration page and update your information to include your biography, any panel ideas you may have, and other important information that will help us make the panel assignments.

Schedule Updated!

We are so proud that our Guests of Honour have been nominated for various prestigious literary awards! Check out our blog posts/twitter/Facebook for details!

And check out our updated schedule to see when they are being interviewed, and by whom!

Have you registered??

We have over 1400 people attending! If you haven’t signed up yet, what better time than now! Events, panels, books, authors, schmoozing, banquets, luncheons, Sunday Brunch and Anthony Awards! What’s not to love?

We are only four months away from the grand, fun event that is Bouchercon! As we get closer and closer we’ll be publishing updates more frequently on what we’re doing and expect to be doing as we strive to make the Toronto destination of the best World Mystery Convention a exciting time to remember!

Want to be alerted ASAP as to what’s new?

Our updates will take many forms: through our Twitter feed (@Bouchercon, @Bouchercon2017), our main Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/bouchercon/), our Facebook Event page for this year’s event, and these brief newsletters distributed by email to registrants and those who specifically expressed interest in receiving email updates.

If you want to be on the email list, submit your address on the right-side of this web page!

We have also preserved here on our blog the eight earlier editions, so you can check out any you’ve missed.

Helen Nelson answers: “What Bouchercon has meant to me…”

When friends convinced me to come to the first organizing meeting for Bouchercon 2004 (in early 2004), I had never been to Bouchercon. In fact, although I wanted to help out, I wasn’t sure I would actually attend because it was going to be held on the Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend. And my husband and I had a long tradition spending that last long weekend of the year getting in one more camping trip before it gets seriously cold.

By the end of that first meeting, I had agreed to chair the Registration committee. A few weeks later we added other tasks to the Registration committee and I was joined in chairing the committee by Patricia Pedersen. One of the people we convinced to join our committee was Janet Costello. She, too, had never been to Bouchercon before.

Of course, by the time Bouchercon 2004 began I was there. I had taken on a wide range of tasks that really couldn’t be accomplished from a comfortable campsite in a Provincial Park. So, too, had Janet Costello, who had worked on the Registration committee and co-ordinated the charity auctions. Of course we didn’t really attend all that much of Bouchercon – we were so busy with the background tasks of making sure that everything happened. Even though we had independently bought T-Shirts that featured a picture of “The Silent Scream” with the words “Stop me before I volunteer again”, we were hooked.

What is the hook? 

It is hard to fully describe. But I’ll try. 

It’s the fact that Bouchercon is run entirely by volunteers who pour their hearts into making it happen every year. It is the fact that it has happened every year without fail for 47 years – soon to be 48. It is visiting new-to-us cities – and revisiting cities we think of as old friends. It is the same every year and different every year. It is the sense of community, of family. It is meeting new friends and visiting with old friends. It is the hugs of greeting and the tears of parting. It is mourning those who have died in the last year. It is celebrating the successes of new authors, and the veterans. It is reminiscent of a high school reunion except you like everyone! It is a joyous party for up to 2000 kindred spirits.

And so it was probably inevitable that we would want to do it again in Toronto!  In the almost 13 years since Bouchercon 2004, Janet and I have poured a lot of our energy into the Toronto Chapter of Sisters in Crime. Janet was newsletter editor for 7 years; I worked as co-editor for the first two of those, then spent 5 years as chapter president. And we’re still active there. And it didn’t hurt that people would constantly ask me “So when will we do Bouchercon here again?”

Co-Chairs Janet Costello and Helen Nelson

Co-Chairs Janet Costello and Helen Nelson

That feeling of wanting to give back has never left us. So in 2012 we made a successful bid to host Bouchercon 2017 in Toronto. Janet and I are the Co-Chairs.

We’ll be busy during Bouchercon this year.  No matter how well planned, there are always a host of last minute details and fixes and oversights and questions to be answered!  But the highlight is all of you!

See you all in October!

GOH Christopher Brookmyre shortlisted for Old Peculier…

Our own International Guest of Honour Christopher Brookmyre has been shortlisted for the Theakson’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year (aka Harrogate Crime Festival)…

The winner will be announced at an award ceremony hosted by broadcaster Mark Lawson on 20 July on the opening night of the 15th Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate. The winner will receive a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakston Old Peculier.

Here is what the website says about Chris:

Chris Brookmyre beat stiff competition to win the Scottish crime book of the year award with his novel, Black Widow, a story of cyber-abuse, where ‘even the twists have twists’. It features his long-time character, reporter Jack Parlabane. Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon tweeted that she had been given the novel as an early Valentine’s Day present by her husband, declaring it ‘brilliant’.

Panel Registration Deadline!

Did you know?

Only those registered for Bouchercon 2017
AND
Those who ask to be on a panel, will be considered for a panel.

July 1st (17 days away!) is the deadline for consideration.
Registration at Bouchercon is not a guarantee of a panel assignment.  We will try to give as many as we can a panel slot. Unfortunately, the number of requests is usually far greater than the spaces available, so not every request can be met.

As the sage once said: “You can’t win if you don’t play.”

Indicate your interest today!

The Passport – May 2017

The most recent issue, The Passport – May 2017 [PDF], is here and has been emailed out in PDF form.

We have announced the Anthony Award nominees! (See also our web page, and blog post).

Want to be on a panel???

The registration deadline to be considered for a panel is July 1. Have you filled out our panelists’ questionnaire? If not, go back to our Registration page and update your information to include your biography, any panel ideas you may have, and other important information that will help us make the panel assignments.

Have you registered??

We have over 1400 people attending! If you haven’t signed up yet, what better time than now! Events, panels, books, authors, schmoozing, banquets, luncheons, Sunday Brunch and Anthony Awards! What’s not to love?

We are only five months away from the grand, fun event that is Bouchercon! As we get closer and closer we’ll be publishing updates more frequently on what we’re doing and expect to be doing as we strive to make the Toronto destination of the best World Mystery Convention a exciting time to remember!

Want to be alerted ASAP as to what’s new?

Our updates will take many forms: through our Twitter feed (@Bouchercon, @Bouchercon2017), our main Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/bouchercon/), our Facebook Event page for this year’s event, and these brief newsletters distributed by email to registrants and those who specifically expressed interest in receiving email updates.

If you want to be on the email list, submit your address on the right-side of this web page!

We have also preserved here on our blog the seven earlier editions, so you can check out any you’ve missed.

Anthony Nominations Announced!

The 2017 Bouchercon organizers announce the Anthony Award Nominations. The Anthony Awards are given at each annual Bouchercon World Mystery Convention with the winners selected by attendees.  [download the full Press Release]

The Anthony Award is named for the late Anthony Boucher (William Anthony Parker White), well-known writer and critic from the New York Times, who helped found the Mystery Writers of America.

The winner in each category will be announced immediately following the Sunday Brunch on October 15. While the Sunday Brunch is a ticketed event (buy your tickets through the Registration process), all Bouchercon attendees may attend the short awards ceremony that immediately follows.

 

ANTHONY AWARD NOMINATIONS for 2017

Best Novel

  • You Will Know Me – Megan Abbott [Little, Brown]
  • Where It Hurts – Reed Farrel Coleman [G.P. Putnam’s Sons]
  • Red Right Hand – Chris Holm [Mulholland]
  • Wilde Lake – Laura Lippman [William Morrow]
  • A Great Reckoning – Louise Penny [Minotaur]

 

Best First Novel

  • Dodgers – Bill Beverly [Crown]
  • IQ – Joe Ide [Mulholland]
  • Decanting a Murder – Nadine Nettmann [Midnight Ink]
  • Design for Dying – Renee Patrick [Forge]
  • The Drifter – Nicholas Petrie [G.P. Putnam’s Sons]

 

Best Paperback Original

  • Shot in Detroit – Patricia Abbott [Polis]
  • Leadfoot – Eric Beetner [280 Steps]
  • Salem’s Cipher – Jess Lourey [Midnight Ink]
  • Rain Dogs – Adrian McKinty [Seventh Street]
  • How to Kill Friends and Implicate People – Jay Stringer [Thomas & Mercer]
  • Heart of Stone – James W. Ziskin [Seventh Street]

 

Best Short Story

  • “Oxford Girl” – Megan Abbott, Mississippi Noir [Akashic]
  • “Autumn at the Automat” – Lawrence Block, In Sunlight or in Shadow [Pegasus]
  • “Gary’s Got A Boner” – Johnny Shaw, Waiting to Be Forgotten [Gutter]
  • “Parallel Play” – Art Taylor, Chesapeake Crimes: Storm Warning [Wildside]
  • “Queen of the Dogs” – Holly West, 44 Caliber Funk: Tales of Crime, Soul and Payback [Moonstone]

 

Best Critical Nonfiction Work

  • Alfred Hitchcock: A Brief Life – Peter Ackroyd [Nan A. Talese]
  • Letters from a Serial Killer – Kristi Belcamino & Stephanie Kahalekulu [CreateSpace]
  • Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life – Ruth Franklin [Liveright]
  • Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker – David J. Skal [Liveright]
  • The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer – Kate Summerscale [Bloomsbury/Penguin]

 

Best Children’s/YA Novel

  • Snowed – Maria Alexander [Raw Dog Screaming]
  • The Girl I Used to Be – April Henry [Henry Holt]
  • Tag, You’re Dead – J.C. Lane [Poisoned Pen]
  • My Sister Rosa – Justine Larbalestier [Soho Teen]
  • The Fixes – Owen Matthews [HarperTeen]

 

Best Anthology

  • Unloaded: Crime Writers Writing Without Guns – Eric Beetner, ed. [Down & Out]
  • In Sunlight or in Shadow – Lawrence Block, ed. [Pegasus]
  • Cannibals: Stories from the Edge of the Pine Barrens – Jen Conley [Down & Out]
  • Blood on the Bayou: Bouchercon Anthology 2016 – Greg Herren, ed. [Down & Out]
  • Waiting To Be Forgotten: Stories of Crime and Heartbreak, Inspired by the Replacements – Jay Stringer, ed. [Gutter]

 

Best Novella (8,000-40,000 words)

  • Cleaning Up Finn – Sarah M. Chen [All Due Respect Books]
  • No Happy Endings – Angel Luis Colón [Down & Out]
  • Crosswise – S.W. Lauden [Down & Out]
  • Beware the Shill – John Shepphird [Down & Out]
  • The Last Blue Glass – B.K. Stevens, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, April 2016 [Dell]

 

For more information about the Anthony Awards, Bouchercon, or for contact info about the finalists, contact the Bouchercon 2017 Chairs.

Mark May 17: Anthony Award nominees to be announced

As promised, as soon as all nominations are tabulated, the 2017 Anthony Award Nominees would be announced.

Well, that date has arrived!  

On Wednesday, May 17th the full slate of Anthony Award nominees will be announced in all eight categories:

  1. Best Novel
  2. Best First Novel
  3. Best Paperback Original
  4. Best Short Story
  5. Best Critical Nonfiction Work
  6. Best Children’s/YA Novel
  7. Best Anthology
  8. Best Novella (8,000-40,000 words)

We will be releasing the information through all our media channels!

The winner in each category will be announced immediately following the Sunday Brunch on October 15. While the Sunday Brunch is a ticketed event (buy your tickets through the Registration process), all Bouchercon attendees may attend the short awards ceremony that immediately follows.