Bouchercon 2016

Rob Hart noted in his Bouchercon blog that this year’s convention skewed young. He’s right.

My first Bouchercon was 1988 in San Diego. I was on a reviewing and criticism panel chaired by Charles Champlin. A year later in Philadelphia, I chaired a similar panel. (All did not go well; something we said so offended Lawrence Block that he stomped out of the audience.)

I’ve noticed over the years that attendance by writers seems to have increased to the point that we outnumber readers or reviewers. Now there are many more authors than panel positions. And, to be sure, those coveted panels and book signings should be used to help young writers.

That said, some of the choices are curious. Julie Mulhern was on the “Yesterday: Historical” panel. She writes the Country Club Murders series set in the 1970s. They’re terrific, funny books. I bought the first one and am thoroughly enjoying it. But was that the most appropriate panel for her? (She seemed curious about that too, and said that she used old issues of “Gourmet” and “Cosmo” for historical details.) Personally, I was hoping to learn something more about research. I did not.

I understand that juggling personnel at Bouchercon is a tricky business that can’t satisfy everyone, and I don’t have any suggestions for change. Well… they could give me a prime spot next year, but I can’t promise not to piss off Lawrence Block.

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