Crime & Coffee – A Festival of Crime Fiction in Cardiff

Crime & Coffee festival banner

Cardiff will soon be playing host to some top quality crime fiction writers in the capital’s newest literary festival – Crime and Coffee. Taking place over two days – 1st and 2nd June – the festival is organised by Cardiff Council Library staff in conjunction with Crime Cymru, featuring Belinda Bauer, Christopher Fowler, Rebecca Tope, Kate Hamer, Mark Ellis, Katherine Stansfield and other crime writers, for two days of workshops, readings and discussion. I interviewed local crime writer Katherine Stansfield, to find out more about this brand new festival…

Hi Katherine, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed. First of all, would you be able to introduce yourself? What’s your connection with crime fiction?

Hello Rachel, thanks for having me. I’m a novelist and poet based in Cardiff. I’ve only recently moved into writing crime fiction as a genre, having started out with historical fiction. A few years ago I started work on novel about a murder that took place on Bodmin Moor, near where I grew up, way back in 1844. It was the story that drew me rather than the genre, and at first it didn’t even occur to me that I was writing crime fiction, though you would have thought that having a murder in there might have given it away…

Kate Hamer (left) and Katherine Stansfield (right)

Kate Hamer (left) and Katherine Stansfield (right)

Once that book, Falling Creatures, was out, people started to refer to me as a crime writer, which makes sense for the book and its sequel, The Magpie Tree, but I’m still not sure if I am a bone fide crime writer. I think it’s because I blend genres in my work, writing historical crime with a dash of The Weird, but that’s what I’m drawn to. I have learnt a great deal about the genre since writing crime novels, and through teaching my Writing Crime Fiction adult education class for Cardiff University

What inspired the creation of a crime fiction festival in Cardiff?

Cardiff Central Library supports a large number of reading groups, one of which focuses on crime fiction. The Library team thought it would be a great idea to dedicate a whole weekend to the genre and give those readers a chance to meet some of their favourite authors, and to be introduced to some new names. It’s also a great way to encourage people into the library if they aren’t using it already, and to spread the word about all the crime writing talent Wales has to offer. The library is hugely supportive of writers in the local area, as their regular ‘Open Space’ slot testifies.

How did you become involved?

The library team was looking for partner organisations to get involved in the festival, to help with planning and to devise potential content. I’m part of the Crime Cymru collective and the library got in touch to ask if we’d like to come on board. Of course we said yes!

Crime Cymru members Rosie Claverton (left) and Alis Hawkins (right)

Crime Cymru members Rosie Claverton (left) and Alis Hawkins (right)

What is Crime Cymru? And what does it do?

Crime Cymru is a newly-formed collective of crime writers with a real and present relationship with Wales. Some of us are from Wales originally but these days live elsewhere, quite a few of us live here now, and a great many of us write about the place. Our aim is to promote Welsh crime writing to a wider audience – within Wales and beyond.

Cardiff Central Library

Cardiff Central Library

What are you most looking forward to at the festival?

I’m chairing an event with Chris Fowler which I’m excited about, and I’m hoping to attend Sally Spedding’s workshop on writing chiller thrillers too – she has such an amazing sense of place and spookiness! Alis Hawkins and Graham Miller will be discussing coroners as detectives which should be really interesting as I don’t know very much about that real-life role, but I’ve enjoyed the first in Alis’s historical crime series, None So Blind, which has a coroner as a protagonist. Kate Hamer in conversation with Belinda Bauer is going to be great too.

Thanks Katherine!

Visit the Crime and Coffee website to see their full programme and purchase tickets…

Crime & Coffee festival banner

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