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Debuts at Aye Write! and why it matters

For me, it’s now after AyeWrite, although as I type there are still many more brilliant events to come. This is a quick hurrah for the hours of planning, plotting, organising, and the crossing of fingers that AyeWrite will, once again, achieve its goals. I was one half of the debut authors panel with the lovely (and annoyingly talented) Daniel Cole.  Our chair come interviewer was Christopher Brookmyre, and the aim of the panel was to introduce new writers to interested readers. It’s remarkable because literary festivals don’t have to do this.  It’s easier to pack out halls with writers who have multiple books to their name, and whose reputation for on-stage antics and quick-wittedness makes them an easy sell.  The debut panel, though, seemed to me to be entirely about opening new doors in an industry that can be hard to crack. It’s a tribute to the organisers that they make the time and create a space for those of us new to the scene.  And when an author of Christopher Brookmyre’s talents chairs, as Chris himself said on the evening, it acts as an endorsement of new talent. The truth is that such kindnesses make the world of difference. Within a packed programme and the real-world need to cover costs and generate publicity, championing debuts is a big deal - certainly it was for me. My experience was of a warm and welcoming crowd, who really wanted to listen and who had nothing but high hopes for our futures. The mutual supportiveness of the Scottish crime writing scene has made my journey an unforgettable one. My promise, following my AyeWrite experience, is to ensure that I show the same support for future writers and to never forget the importance of holding out a hand to others wanting to climb on board.

Helen S Fields​


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