A Registrant Asks…

Entry in our occasional series, as Registrants ask us questions we think all attendees might benefit from knowing.

What exactly is “20 on the 20”?

These are 20 minute spotlight sessions that occur on the hour and then at 20 minutes past the hour and 20 minutes to the next hour. (For example: 8:00AM; 8:20AM; 8:40AM; 9:00AM…etc.)

The author in the spotlight does what they wish — it might be read, it might be give a brief talk, it might be an informal chat with folks in the audience. These authors are then included with the next signing in the book room.

The schedule for these sessions has been published.

A Registrant Asks…

Entry in our occasional series, as Registrants ask us questions we think all attendees might benefit from knowing.

What is the food situation at Bouchercon?

We are extremely blessed in Toronto with a wide variety of food choices from all ethnicities! Pick a country, there is likely a restaurant serving authentic cuisine!

  • The Sheraton hotel has three restaurants and two coffee bars that also sell light snacks.
  • Immediately connected to the hotel in the lower concourse are two food courts with a wide variety of fast food choices.
  • Parked outside the Sheraton hotel (across the street) is the iconic City Hall. There are always several food trucks parked there.
  • Within an easy walk of the hotel there are hundreds of restaurant choices, ranging from Tim Hortons and Starbucks a few steps away to 5-star eateries. The massive Eaton Centre shopping complex is a 3-minute walk away and has two large food courts.

Pretty much no matter what your cuisine preference, from street food, to Italian, Chinese, Thai, Korean, Middle Eastern, Ethiopian… You can sample the globe’s food by taking a quick walk!

If you are a foodie and want to explore Toronto’s restaurant scene, you can explore the website BlogTO. There you can search for “the best …” and fill in what you are looking for (food/clothes/decor/salons/spas…etc etc).

Of course, if you have bought tickets, there is the Nero Wolfe Banquet, the Sisters in Crime Breakfast, and the Anthony Awards Brunch.

Have questions? We’d love to hear them! Chances are another registrant was wondering the same thing!

Use our contact form on this website to email us, or reach out through other our other media channels.

We’re here to help!



Thriller Awards announced

The 2017 Thriller Awards were announced July 15 during the International Thriller WritersThrillerFest XII at the Grand Hyatt in New York City.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Before the Fall, by Noah Hawley (Grand Central Publishing)
The Body Reader, by Anne Frasier (Thomas & Mercer)
The Drifter, by Nicholas Petrie (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)     <– coming to #Bcon2017
Romeo’s Way, by James Scott Bell (Compendium Press)
Steeplejack, by A.J. Hartley (TOR Teen)
“Big Momma,” by Joyce Carol Oates in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine

Twist Phelan answers: “What Bouchercon has meant to me…”

I travel. A lot. According to my travel planning software, over the past five years I’ve flown over half a million miles to 278 cities in 53 countries, with several repeated (very) often. (Spain! Italy!) I spend almost as much time abroad as I do in the States.

Among those many journeys were trips to New Orleans, Raleigh, Long Beach, and Cleveland to attend Bouchercons. They were the trips I felt as though I were vacationing and not traveling.

This may seem counterintuitive. After all, I’m a full-time writer. Most of my traveling is work-related; I research, plot, promote, and write while on the road. So attending a convention of my peers and fans shouldn’t be considered vacation, right?

Yet the whole time in New Orleans, Raleigh, etc., I was relaxed. I enjoyed attending the panels, catching up with old friends, making new ones. Sure, every day was physically exhausting (I basically get no sleep during these conventions), but at the end of each trip I felt refreshed.

Twist Phelan and Laura Lippman

For almost a decade (and through two hair colors—me), I’ve been doing high-heel yoga with Laura Lippman at Bouchercon.

I love to travel and see the world. It’s a key component of my intellectual and social growth, a chance to learn about other cultures and other histories. I never want to stop exploring the globe. That said, never do I think before leaving on an international trip, “Ah, I’m going on vacation!” That’s because at the heart of it, I’m working, which to me equates to traveling. Navigating my way around Tokyo or Marrakesh may be a memory I’ll have forever, but I don’t find it relaxing or refreshing. (Does anyone?) That doesn’t make it less valuable, of course.



My trips to Bouchercon serve more or less the same purpose for me as a beach or mountain trip might for other folks. It was a good reminder how wonderful it is to do while not exactly nothing, something close. Perhaps a better way to put it is it reminded me how nice it was to experience the familiar in terms of food, transportation, language, and people.Twist Phelan and Laura Lippman

So maybe there are two types of experiences you can have when you pack your bag and take off: travel and vacation. Travel means seeing the world, revving up your sense of adventure and putting your brain to work processing new experiences. Vacation is for re-energizing yourself, enjoying your surroundings at a slower pace and taking a break from stress.

So whether you’ll be traveling or vacationing, come to Toronto! Either way, you’ll return home with memories of a unique and wonderful experience.

Hope to see you there!


Twist Phelan is a member of Crime Writers of Canada (CWC) known for her Finn Teller Corporate Spy mystery series, Pinnacle Peak mystery series, and her short stories, which have won numerous awards. She is one of the Toastmasters at Bouchercon 2017.

This piece first appeared in the June 2017 edition of the CWC members’ newsletter Crime Time, and appears here with the permission of CWC and the author. 

A Registrant Asks…

Entry in our occasional series, as Registrants ask us questions we think all attendees might benefit from knowing.

How do I find out when certain authors are doing a panel or signing books?

We are all excited to be attending a convention with over 730 authors! So how do you make sure to get where you need to be to see your favs?

That information will be posted on the website by mid-August [update: here is the direct link]. The deadline for authors to have registered their interest for panel consideration was July 1. The first major round of notifications has only just gone out. The #Bcon2017 team is working hard to finalize the panels. 

Stay tuned to this space, our Twitter feed, and our Facebook event page for news when the schedule is finalized.

Have questions? We’d love to hear them! Chances are another registrant was wondering the same thing!

Use our contact form on this website to email us, or reach out through other our other media channels.

We’re here to help!



Issues re crossing the border…?

Do you have a criminal conviction in your past?

Canada, like most countries, has laws excluding visitors with criminal convictions  in their past.
This would include things like:  theft, assault, manslaughter, dangerous driving, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or possession of or trafficking in drugs or other controlled substances — and more. Some are major and some minor.  Here are some links that can help you understand how you can still be admissible to Canada:

Macavity Awards shortlist announced

We are so honoured that TWO of our Guests of Honour are on the list for this prestigious award!  And over half of the shortlist will be attending @Bouchercon2017!!

Best Novel:

  • Megan Abbott: You Will Know Me (Little, Brown)  – coming to #Bcon2017 (Guest of Honour!)
  • Matt Coyle: Dark Fissures (Oceanview)   – coming to #Bcon2017
  • Noah Hawley: Before the Fall (UK, Hodder & Stoughton; US, Grand Central Publishing)
  • Mick Herron: Real Tigers (UK, John Murray; US, Soho)
  • Laura Lippman: Wilde Lake (Wm. Morrow)
  • Louise Penny: A Great Reckoning (Minotaur)  – coming to #Bcon2017 (Guest of Honour!)

Best First Novel:

  • Fiona Barton: The Widow (UK, Bantam; US, NAL)
  • Flynn Berry: Under the Harrow (Penguin)
  • Bill Beverly: Dodgers (No Exit Press)  – coming to #Bcon2017
  • Joe Ide: IQ (Mulholland Books)   – coming to #Bcon2017
  • Renee Patrick: Design for Dying (Forge)

Best Short Story:

  • Lawrence Block: “Autumn at the Automat” (In Sunlight or in Shadow, Pegasus Books)   – coming to #Bcon2017
  • Craig Faustus Buck: “Blank Shot” (Black Coffee, Darkhouse Books)  – coming to #Bcon2017
  • Greg Herren: “Survivor’s Guilt” (Blood on the Bayou: Bouchercon Anthology 2016, Down & Out Books)  – coming to #Bcon2017
  • Paul D. Marks: “Ghosts of Bunker Hill” (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Dec. 2016)
  • Joyce Carol Oates: “The Crawl Space” (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Sept.-Oct. 2016)
  • Art Taylor: “Parallel Play” (Chesapeake Crimes: Storm Warning, Wildside Press)  – coming to #Bcon2017

Sue Feder Memorial Award for Best Historical Novel:

  • Susanna Calkins: A Death Along the River Fleet  (Minotaur)  – coming to #Bcon2017
  • Lyndsay Faye: Jane Steele  (UK: Headline Review; US, G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
  • Edith Maxwell: Delivering The Truth  (Midnight Ink)  – coming to #Bcon2017
  • Catriona McPherson: The Reek of Red Herrings (US: Minotaur; UK: Houghton Stodder)  – coming to #Bcon2017
  • Ann Parker: What Gold Buys (Poisoned Pen Press)  – coming to #Bcon2017
  • James W. Ziskin: Heart of Stone (Seventh Street Books)  – coming to #Bcon2017

Best Nonfiction:

  • Jane K. Cleland: Mastering Suspense, Structure, and Plot: How to Write Gripping Stories that Keep Readers on the Edge of Their Seats  (Writer’s Digest Books)  – coming to #Bcon2017
  • Ruth Franklin: Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life (Liveright Publishing)
  • Margaret Kinsman: Sara Paretsky: A Companion to the Mystery Fiction (McFarland)
  • David J. Skal: Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote Dracula (Liveright Publishing)
  • Kate Summerscale: The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer (Penguin)

A Registrant Asks…

First in our occasional series, as Registrants ask us questions we think all attendees might benefit from knowing.

What is “author speed dating”?

It’s not what you think! 

Each author gets a chance to pitch their book(s) to 22 tables of 8 readers to a table. Authors are put in groups of 2 and move from table to table every 4 minutes — so if you and I were paired I would talk for 2 minutes and then you would talk for 2 minutes. We’d pass out bookmarks or other stuff. And then at the 4 minute mark we’d travel to the next table!

It is incredibly popular and the dealer room floods with buyers when it is done!

Have questions? We’d love to hear them! Chances are another registrant was wondering the same thing!

Use our contact form on this website to email us, or reach out through other our other media channels.

We’re here to help!



Maureen Jennings answers: “What Bouchercon has meant to me…”

The very first Bouchercon I attended was in 1990 in London, England. I wasn’t writing at the time, although lurking in the background was probably the desire to do so. But I had heroes! And there they were: P.D.James; Colin Dexter; Michael Innes, among others. What a thri

Maureen Jennings and Cathy Ace

Maureen Jennings and Cathy Ace

ll to hear and see them chatting about the genre that I loved so much.

After that, I attended regularly. Not only was it an opportunity to visit different cities I might not necessarily visit, such as the glorious Pasadena, it was also the chance to mingle with other people –  both fans and writers – who loved to read the kind of books I loved to read.

Along the way, perhaps without quite realizing it, I was picking up tips about the writing process itself. All most helpful when I began my first novel.

I made friends that I have kept over the years. I met my first editor Ruth Cavin at the Nottingham Bouchercon and got launched as it were. We sat next to each at the banquet, fell into a great conversation (topic forgotten now). I mentioned I had sent along a manuscript to St. Martin’s Press. It was no doubt sitting in her slush pile. After this evening, I was a face attached to a name. She read the manuscript and made an offer. Except the Dying saw the light of day two years later.

Long may the lovers of this genre gather together.


Maureen Jennings is the author of the Murdoch Mysteries series, the Christine Morris books and the Tom Tyler books. She was shortlisted for the 2017 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel for her Tom Tyler book, Dead Ground In Between, just one of the awards for which her work has been shortlisted, and which it has won. Maureen was President of Crime Writers of Canada 2003-2004.

McIlvanney Prize longlist announced

Bloody Scotland announced the 2017 longlist of the McIlvanney Prize as:

Lin Anderson – None But the Dead -coming to #Bcon2017
Christopher Brookmyre – Want You Gone -coming to #Bcon2017 (GOH!)
Ann Cleeves – Cold Earth -coming to #Bcon2017
Helen Fields – Perfect Remains
Val McDermid – Out of Bounds
Claire MacLeary – Cross Purpose
Denise Mina – The Long Drop
Owen Mullen – Games People Play
Ian Rankin – Rather Be the Devil
Craig Roberson – Murderabilia -coming to #Bcon2017
Craig Russell – The Quiet Death of Thomas Quaid
Jay Stringer – How to Kill Friends & Implicate People -coming to #Bcon2017