Writing can be a lonely calling. And there are roller coaster ups and downs in the publishing business. But it’s all worth it when you get together with your tribe, as we are this week at Bouchercon 50! And to make this event even more special, I get to meet some very special young people this week . . .
|Kunle and I in Sharjah|
Last year at the Sharjah International Book Festival, I had the pleasure of meeting Kunle Kasumu from Channels TV in Nigeria, a reporter with an expertise in books. He kindly invited me for an interview, and I was impressed by his sense of humour, deep knowledge of the thriller genre, and insightful questions. I also learned about the program he had created to give Nigerian students with a penchant for writing access to the wider world of literature.
Kunle and Channels TV run a national essay contest for Nigerian students who are interested in expressing themselves through the written word. The winners embark on an educational trip to a different country each year, culminating in them attending a major writing conference to meet their literary idols and experience a different country. Last year, the destination was the United Arab Emirates at the Sharjah Book Festival, which hosts over two million attendees from all over the world.
Carol Puckett, the Chair of Bouchercon Dallas, saw my pictures of Kunle and the students on Facebook–and Carol being the wonderfully kind person she is–wanted to give other students the chance to come to Texas. Kunle, Carol, and I worked together to make Dallas, Texas their destination for 2019 with a final deep dive into the world of literature to take place at Bouchercon. The three students have been enjoying the United States for two weeks (including the rare chance to experience a live Texas tornado) and are excited to exchange ideas with the writers and attendees at Bouchercon this week.
|Carol with the students in Dallas|
If anything is bringing you down right now, never forget that writing can bring people together in the most human and uplifting of ways. And if you see Kunle and his team of future bestsellers at the event, please introduce yourself and say hello. You will be glad that you did.
The Rogue Women will also be storming Dallas this year with a panel at Bouchercon on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. sharing all of their insights, wit, and wisdom about the crazy world that is rogue thriller writing. And Meg Gardiner is our panel master!!!! You don’t want to miss that.
Outside of the conference (but close by), you might want to take in the panel at Half Price books on Saturday at 2 p.m. where myself, Mark Greaney, Jack Carr, Nick Petrie, A..J. Tata, Brad Taylor, and Marc Cameron will be discussing the latests and greatest in the world of action thrillers and signing books for enthusiast fans. Our new Nigerian friends will be there, and I’m counting the minutes until I meet them all!