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Dead in Deutschland

Today in our Harrogate Guide we’re looking into something a little different – European crime, the focus of the panel entitled ‘Dead in Deutschland’!

Taking place at 10:30am on Friday 19th July at The Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival, we asked Jan Costin Wagner, panellist and author of Light in a Dark House, what we should expect from this unique event.

What the brochure says:

European crime fiction has made a killing recently, but is it time for the Scandinavians to pass their woolly jumpers to their southern neighbours? Crime novels or ‘Krimis’ have exploded in Germany with festivals and bookshops devoted to the bestsellers. Four German crime writers shed light on the burgeoning scene, exploring why the genre has finally demanded respect within their culture. The UK’s leading expert on translated crime fiction Barry Forshaw asks Jan Costin Wagner, Sebastian Fitzek Nele Neuhaus and Dane Jussi Adler-Olsen, is German crime fiction the Next Big Thing?

Over to Jan:

This July I am very much looking forward to two journeys – at the end of the month I will go to spend some time in Finland, my second home country, and just before that I will for the first time be taking part in the Harrogate Crime Festival.

‘Dead in Deutschland’ is the title of our panel – Nele Neuhaus will be there, Sebastian Fitzek and, from Denmark, but very successful in Germany, Jussi Adler-Olsen. Very different authors, I think, with different styles, topics, perspectives on storytelling and the genre, which makes the meeting even more interesting.

While I am very much on my own when I write a novel – or you could say: mainly corresponding with the characters of the novel – it is always nice meeting other authors after finishing the book, finding time to talk and debate about the different impulses and compulsions, which make us do such a strange thing as write a book, dedicating all the power to this one story that wants to be told. And, of course, the Harrogate Festival for me is also an important opportunity to talk to readers, because this meeting of author and reader, a time when we can reflect together about the written words, is basically why I write in the first place.

If somebody asks me to explain why I am so happy when writing my sometimes sad novels, I would say: My writing process always begins with the most extreme situation a person could be confronted with – and then I attempt to find a language, a line, a melody, that, in the end, will help to tell a story of life surviving death. That is why I like the hero of my novels, Kimmo Joentaa, so much. He creates power from the loss he suffered, finding the strength to help people. He thinks and acts beyond conventions, because convention does not mean anything anymore, after you have lost the most important part of your life.
There are many Festival-Events I am looking forward to, but I won’t miss the panel “Touching Evil” (Friday, 19th of July, 3.30 pm), because I think that the basic question of this discussion is most important: In a world where unspeakable crimes are committed, does crime fiction anatomise or glorify crime? I think that this is a question an author of crime fiction and of fiction in general should always have in mind.

A big thank you to Jan Costin Wagner – we’re really looking forward to meeting him after his event at the festival on Friday.

Heading to the Harrogate Crime Festival? Let us know which events you’re most looking forward to over on our Dead Good facebook page.

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