Last week I had the pleasure of attending Bouchercon 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. This year’s theme was “Blood on the Bayou.”
Having never been to a Bouchercon, which bills itself as the World Mystery Convention, I had only a fuzzy idea of what to expect. What I found was a huge community of mystery writers and mystery fans, all of whom were supportive, engaging, funny, knowledgeable, and inquisitive.
If you’ve ever been to a large convention (or a small one, or if you’ve ever met even one writer), you know there’s nothing writers love more than talking shop. And there was plenty of that at Bouchercon. Each day of the convention was jam-packed with panel after panel of fascinating discussion. It was actually hard to prioritize which panels to attend because they all sounded interesting and many of them were scheduled in the same time slots.
Here’s just a brief glimpse of some of the panel topics:
Problems All Authors Face
Captivating the Reader
Agents & Editors Panel: State of the Industry
Realities of Death Investigation
Writing Groups: Our Experience Forming and Running a Group
Cozy vs. Hardboiled
Ever-Changing Trends in Genre Fiction
I wish I could list all the panels here, but it would take way too much space. I participated on a panel called “Take Me Home,” all about setting and its importance or non-importance in different types of stories.
Take Me Home panel
But the panels weren’t the only things going on; every 15 minutes between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., there was a different author in the spotlight to talk about a free-flowing range of topics. There were book signings, readings, publisher events, interviews with the hottest mystery writers today, interviews with the accomplished and lauded guests of honor (including Harlan Coben, David Morrell, and R.L. Stine), and presentations by experts in the field of crime investigation. There was a huge booksellers’ room with thousands of books for sale. There was another room called the Book Bazaar, and every attendee, both writer and fan, had the opportunity to choose six free books to take home from the Bazaar.
And of course there were the Anthony Awards for different categories of mystery: Best Novel, Best Non-Fiction Book, Best Anthology, Best Young Adult Book, etc. But even more fun than the Anthony Awards was the Second Line parade that wound authors, fans, and guests of honor through the streets from the convention hotel to the Orpheum Theater. Even the rain couldn’t dampen the fun, which included stilt walkers, dancers, performers, and a jazz band.
Second Line Parade
And it was in New Orleans. I’d never been, but it’s a city that almost defies description. The architecture was gorgeous, the French Quarter and the Garden District were breathtaking, and Bourbon Street was an education in itself.
Did I mention last week was Restaurant Week in New Orleans? Don’t even get me started.
The Scalibut at GW Fins
I’m already making plans for next year’s Bouchercon, which will be held in Toronto.