From the Po to the Trent (via Mississippi)

So, back from Northern Italy, the land of a million churches, thirty plus degrees of heat and long lazy lunches, many memories to the good (and mosquito bites the size of golf balls to match). Two days spent happily in the company of Norwegian crime writer Kjell Ola Dahl, Danish author Morten Brask and Swedish record producer Haken Olsson together with his wife, Monica, all under the auspices of Seba Pezzani and the dal Mississippi al Po festival of music and literature, held this year in the beautiful surroundings of the Archaeological Park in Travo, the main stage surrounded by green hills on all sides.


After listening to Kjell, Morten and Haken discuss the influences, good and bad – mostly, it seemed, good – of  American culture on its Scandinavian counterpart, it was my turn to be interviewed about the Resnick series in general and the third novel, Cutting Edge, in particular. Translated by Seba, Cutting Edge is to be published in Italy by Foschi Editore this October, under the title Anestesia LetaleLethal Anaesthesia.


As yet bereft of its cover, there were copies of the novel available and since these were marked as not for sale, they sold like the proverbial banned cakes. Smart move!

From the left, me, Morten, Kjell, Hakan & Monica

From the left, me, Morten, Kjell, Hakan & Monica

Just a few days to reacclimatise, before heading up to Nottingham for the official launch of These Seven, previewed a week or so back at the Lowdham Book Festival. There will be toasts and speeches, doubtless, at the reception in the grand surroundings of the Council House, and before that, if all goes according to plan, a mass flash mob reading outside. Let’s hope the weather is kind.


You can read more about These Seven and its connections to Nottingham’s bid to become a Unesco City of Literature in this article from the marvellous Left Lion here 



Grace Notes

Daughter’s in Nottingham today with one of her pals, looking  round the University ahead of deciding where to apply come autumn, and I shall be up there tomorrow, spending the afternoon at the esteemed Lowdham Book Festival, helping to launch These Seven, the new collection of short stories from Five Leaves which is a key part of the Nottingham Big City Read and a small part of the city’s bid to become a UNESCO City of Literature.

As part of that bid, the Notts City of Literature web site is featuring a Poem a Day (well, most days) with Nottingham connections.

Mine – a ‘version’ of the poem “Grace Notes”, recalling listening to jazz in a venue long gone – can be found here. If you’ve a few minutes, please give it a try.

These Seven …

IMG_0028This coming Saturday, June 27th, sees the public launch of the above collection, published by Five Leaves as the centrepiece of Nottingham’s Big City Read and Write project and featuring the work of seven writers – well, one is actually a cartoonist – with strong Nottingham connections. Alan Sillitoe’s contribution aside, all of the pieces featured are new and published here for the first time, the whole shebang yours at the almost giveaway price of £3.00. Incredible!

Here’s the blurb …

These Seven Nottingham writers cover a lot of ground.
John Harvey visits his traditional world of crime with a story more domestic than usual, Megan Taylor spends time in Old Market Square waiting for someone whose arrival might change her life, graphic novelist Brick imagines a Nottingham version of Simeon the Stylite living at the top of the Aspire sculpture, Paula Rawsthorne finds that being a child of a refugee brings its own problems, and Alison Moore realises that a weekend away is not always idyllic. Meantime Shreya Sen Handley’s Indian family discovers something going on at the bottom of their garden, and Alan Sillitoe is back on the streets of Nottingham, where this all began.

Saturday’s event is being held between 2.00 – 3.00pm in the Methodist Chapel, Main Street, Lowdham, as part of this year’s Lowdham Book Festival, and six of the authors will be present, with a mystery guest presenting Alan Sillitoe’s contribution. If you’re anywhere in the Nottingham area, come along and sample the fun. Details:

More – probably – about my own story later, but for now suffice to say that it’s called “Ask Me Now”, is set in the city of Nottingham, and features Tom Whitemore, a detective sergeant attached to the Public Protection Team, whose previous appearance was in “Sack O’ Woe”,  one of a collection of short stories about the police edited by Michael Connelly under the title The Blue Religion.