By Claire Booth
Last night, I went to Bouchercon. Virtually. The world’s largest mystery convention was supposed to be in New Orleans from Wednesday, Aug. 23 through today. Then Covid cases in Louisiana soared and the Delta variant everywhere proved to be even more contagious than the original. So the organizers made the wise, considerate, healthy – and considering how much time they’d put into planning – excruciating decision to cancel.
We had to do the same thing last year with Bouchercon 2020, which was supposed to be held in my hometown of Sacramento. I was on the local organizing committee, and we pivoted from in person to virtual in late spring of that year. Our October convention was instead held online. We had panels (fewer than we would have), interviews with our author guests of honor, and an awards ceremony.
But we had more than four months to put together a virtual convention. The New Orleans organizers had three weeks. To pick themselves up off the floor, down a few drinks, and get back to work. And over the last two days, they pulled it off. They gave us a wonderful interview on Friday night and an Anthony Award ceremony on Saturday night. (And in a not insignificant side note, those organizers living in New Orleans did all this live while also having a hurricane headed their way.)
Both events are now on YouTube. If you’re interested in finding some new authors to read, I highly recommend watching. The Anthony Awards especially featured some knockout speeches. Stay for the last one. I promise, it’s worth it.
At this link, you can find:
Alafair Burke in conversation with James Lee Burke, hosted by Heather Graham with introductions from Rachel Howzell Hall.
The Anthony Awards, hosted by Hank Phillippi Ryan, with an introduction from Craig Johnson (who writes the Longmire books). These are voted on by convention attendees. We did it virtually this year, and the slate of nominees is below.
Best Hardcover Novel
What You Don't See - Tracy Clark - Kensington
Blacktop Wasteland - S.A. Cosby - Flatiron Books
Little Secrets - Jennifer Hillier - Minotaur Books
And Now She's Gone - Rachel Howzell Hall - Forge Books
The First to Lie - Hank Phillippi Ryan - Forge Books
Best First Novel
Derailed - Mary Keliikoa - Camel Press
Murder in Old Bombay - Nev March - Minotaur Books
Murder at the Mena House - Erica Ruth Neubauer – Kensington
The Thursday Murder Club - Richard Osman - Pamela Dorman Books
Winter Counts - David Heska Wanbli Weiden - Ecco Press
Best Paperback Original/E-Book/Audiobook Original Novel
The Fate of a Flapper - Susanna Calkins - Griffin