Heaven knows what fit of hubris inspired me to volunteer as a speaker at the Greenbelt Festival. As the date draws nearer I’m wondering not only what to say, but also whether anyone will want to come near enough to hear it. By 4.30 on Monday 29 August I will have spent five days camping in a field with a cold tap, portaloos and showers which have been described as ‘Like trying to wash under somebody crying.’ Anyone bold enough to turn up may well suspect that I sent someone else to pose for the Author Photograph.
Still, the research for ‘Getting away with Murder – The Lure of Crime Fiction’ was a good excuse to get round to reading ‘The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher,’ Kate Summerscale’s fascinating look at Victorian crime investigation and the fiction that arose from it. It really is as good as everyone says.
Greenbelt’s headline literature speaker this year will be Stella Duffy, talking about ‘Theodora – Empress, Actress, Whore’. I started reading it last night and had that feeling of anticipation and delight that you get when you know you are stepping into the world of a writer who really knows what they’re doing.