Until this weekend, I'd never been to a CWA conference. I went this year for three reasons: because Peter James told me I should. Because is was a rather special anniversary - the 60th! And because it was being held in Bowness-on-Windermere in the Lake District - one of my favourite places to visit.
Like other crime writing events, I arrived with the expectation of seeing many of the authors I knew from festivals like Harrogate, Crimefest and Bloody Scotland. But this was not the case at all. With one or two exceptions, the majority were not people I'd met before - but what a friendly and inclusive bunch they were.
The weekend kicked off with a cruise on Lake Windermere - Prosecco in abundance - and sunshine. Hooray! An hour later, with hailstones pelting the open deck, the return leg was a little more friendly than I'd anticipated as everyone went below to keep dry. It was a lot of fun.
I applaud Peter James - outgoing chair - who worked tirelessly to serve the CWA during his chairmanship. I'd also just like to say a big thank you to Diane Janes who organised the jubilee event. She made sure everything ran smoothly, putting on a full programme of informative lectures and leisure activities for those who wanted them, allowing time to take in the magnificent scenery or hit the shops for those who didn't.
It was lovely to meet our new director, Lucy Santos, and to be there to welcome in the new chair, Alison Joseph. This year may have been my first conference, but it will not be my last.