Cobargo Crime Convention: Friendly, fun and refreshing

Sisters in Crime National Co-convenor, Janice Simpson, reports on the hugely successful Cobargo Crime Convention from 7-9 October. Sisters in Crime partnered with Well Thumbed Books and Four Winds to produce a weekend of women’s crime and music. Janice also gave a keynote address on behalf of Sisters in Crime.

Cobargo is nestled into the rolling green hills of cattle country in southern New South Wales. It’s not close to any major city in particular, but it sure can dose out first-rate city culture with a twist.

The second literary event hosted in this town, population 650 on the northern border of the Bega Shire, was the Sisters in Crime weekend on October 8 & 9, 2016. No expense had been spared: everywhere you looked there were red stilettos, crime scene tape, chalked bodies, blood spattered shirts, great food, and people laughing and talking.

Right from the start at the library in Bermagui on Friday night and concluding with the concert and wild murder dance on Sunday afternoon, there was plenty of opportunity for audience members to talk to writers Caroline de Costa, Ilsa Evans, Candice Fox, Sulari Gentill, Dorothy Johnson, L.J.M. Owen, Kay Schubach and Janice Simpson.

cobargo-crime-convention-08102016Panel sessions were witty and vigorous with oodles of audience participation. Pat Healy who travelled up from Castlemaine in Victoria said it was the best festival she had been to – friendly, fun and refreshing. L.J.M Owen, author of Olmec Obituary and Mayan Mendacity, penned on her Facebook post, ‘There’s nary a warmer, quirkier, nor more enjoyable welcome to be had than in Cobargo.’

Over 150 enthusiastic people in attendance engaged with eight women crime writers, seven musicians and five local organisations and businesses.

Sisters in Crime thanks especially the audience, as well as the people responsible for organising this magnificent and entertaining weekend: the five women at Well Thumbed Books for their organisation, billeting authors and all-round general helpfulness, and of course, their cookery! Cobargo CWA catered Saturday and Sunday’s morning and afternoon teas and lunch – delicious. Liena and Sheena and their team from Four Winds Bermagui for their organisation, marketing, author gifts, hosting and making the music happen; Bega Valley Shire Library for their hard work in encouraging readers, hosting writers and their cheerful and tireless work during the convention; and Candelo Books for setting up and selling books.