What is Bouchercon and Why Every Mystery Writer Should Attend

boucher-logoWhat is Bouchercon? Bouchercon World Mystery Convention is a fan and writers’conference named in honor of writer, reviewer, and editor Anthony Boucher, and pronounced the way he pronounced his name, rhyming with “voucher”. It is an annual convention of creators and devotees of mystery and detective fiction.

People who attend are fans, authors, agents, booksellers, publishers and other people who read and enjoy mystery and crime fiction. The first one was held in Santa Monica, California in 1970. The guest of honor was Robert Bloch of Psycho fame.

Each year, Bouchercon nominates and votes the Anthony Awards for excellence in crime fiction, including: Best Novel, Best First Novel, Best Short Story, Best Critical Non-Fiction, and Best Paperback Original.

2016 Bouchercon was held September 15-18th in New Orleans with more than 1,900 attendees. The American guest of honor was New York Times Best-Selling Author, Harlan Corbin the exceptional novelist of the Myron Bolitar series (11 novels), three novels in the Mickey Bolitar series and 15 other standalone novels, a total of 29 novels. One of the highlights of the conference was Harlan being interviewed by New York Times Best-Selling author, Michael Connelly!

I got the opportunity to meet Harlan Coben, and take a selfie with him. He was kind and generous of spirit, and witty to boot. Just a down to earth nice guy!

The Lifetime Achievement Award recipient was David Morrell author of First Blood which was turned into the movie “Rambo” starring Sylvester Stallone.

Other notable greats appearing throughout the weekend included Lee Child, New York Times Best-Selling author of the Jack Reacher series, serving as moderator, and he also interviewed David Morell.

There were hundreds of authors of the mystery/thriller genre in attendance including authors currently residing in Texas, including Charlaine Harris of the Sookie Stackhouse, Southern Vampire Mysteries, adapted into the HBO series, True Blood, and New York Times Best-Selling authors Kathleen Kent, Taylor Stevens, and Reavis Z. Wortham.

Bouchercon seems to have found the magic formula for bringing readers and authors together for a grand weekend! It offered a variety of panels with authors presenting various topics on writing and publishing. Bouchercon New Orleans also hosted charity events, donating the proceeds and books to local entities including the New Orleans Public Library.

Throughout the weekend at Bouchercon New Orleans, there were numerous opportunities for fans to buy books from vendors or receive free book (Yes!) from Bouchercon Book Bazaar and have their books autographed by their favorite authors.

I think every mystery writer should attend Bouchercon. As a writer pursuing publication, it was a great experience for me. I had the opportunity to experience the pomp and circumstance that celebrates great fiction writing.

It was also rewarding to experience the camaraderie and kinship of “finding your tribe” that Bouchercon promotes. It inspired me to want to keep writing, to become a published author, to keep striving to achieve some of the goals these other great authors have achieved.

Below is a small photo gallery from Bouchercon New Orleans. Check it out!

Bouchercon will be held in Toronto, Canada in 2017; in St. Petersburg, Florida in 2018, and in Dallas, Texas in 2019!

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