Recent Events

Monday, 25 November 2019

Magna Cum Murder



25-27 October 2019
Columbia Club - Indianapolis, Indiana

Guest of Honour - J R Lonsdale
International Guest of Honour - Ruth Dudley Edwards

Report by Brendan Dukes

Indianapolis, Indiana is one of the lesser-known centres of art and commerce in the Midwestern United States, but late each October, readers of crime fiction descend on the city for the Magna cum Murder Crime Writing Festival to enjoy a weekend of panels and face-to-face discussions with their favourite writers. Hosted at the Columbia Club, an exclusive social club and hotel located among the skyscrapers and monuments at the heart of downtown, fans and novelists alike come together to celebrate their favourite genre in one of the most unique crime fiction conferences in the world. 

This year, the festival kicked off on Friday, October 25 with a series of panels and lectures, covering such diverse topics as poisons, Ray Bradbury's Detective Fiction, and writing a historical mystery.

 The festivities continued into Saturday and Sunday with panels exploring thrillers, cozies, character development and plot.



The panels are great, but the conference highlight is always the spotlight given to the Guest of Honour and International Guest of Honour. Mystery novelist
 Reavis Wortham interviewed the Guest of Honour and fellow Texan, Joe R. Lansdale about his decades spanning career producing 30 short story collections and 45 novels, including the famous Hap and Leonard series. 
Later, Saturday evening banquet attendees were greeted with a speech by Irish journalist and satirical mystery novelist, International Guest of Honour Ruth Dudley Edwards, giving a review of her relationship with Magna over the years.


The panels and guests of honour are always a delight, but there is one thing that truly sets Magna cum Murder apart from other crime fiction conventions: the proximity in which the readers mix with the writers. Big names like SJ Rozen, Charles and Caroline Todd, or Jeffery Deaver can be found lounging in wing-back chairs in the club lobby between panels, at the club restaurant over breakfast, or at the bar in the evening. Writers really get to know their fans while readers get to know their favourite writers.I have been volunteering at Magna for eleven years now and it only seems to get better each year as we continue to grow with more writers and fans joining from across the United States and Great Britain. I can't wait until next year and hope to see you there!

Next Year's dates are
23-25 October 2020

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