Northern Ireland thriller writer, Claire McGowan, is joining some of the UK’s finest writers for an exbo in Mexico this week.
Famous for her debut novel, The Fall, the 33 year-old novelist will join the likes of Trainspotting’s Irvine Welsh, and Philippa Gregory, author of The Other Boleyn Girl, at the Guadalajara International Book Fair.
The event, organised by the British Council, is part of the 2015 Mexico- UK Year of Culture and will involve a delegation of 30 British writers, exchanging ideas and networking with their Mexican counterparts, with Claire taking part in panel discussions and Q&A sessions.
Claire, who is originally from Rostrevor, Co Down, is both excited and nervous about the visit, having never travelled so far from home before.
The London-based author said: “I’m slightly nervous; I’ve never really travelled this far on my own, but most of all, I’m worried about the jetlag! Though I’ve made sure to stay a few extra days after the fair, just so I can get a better insight into the way of life in Guadalajara.”
The crime writer, who has just released her third novel, The Silent Dead, which is part of a six-book series, hopes to also find some inspiration while in Mexico.
She said: “I actually don’t know anything about Mexican literature, so it will be interesting to learn something while out there. I’d also love to have my novels translated into Spanish, so hopefully this can help with that, and maybe the visit could inspire me to write a book about Mexican crime gangs! Fellow author Lucy Caldwell has just written a book set in Mexico, so I know there’s definitely potential.”
“Some of the panels will be with other UK writers and I’m really looking forward to working with them, especially people like Irvine Welsh, who I have a lot of respect for.”
The Co Down woman though will be home in time for Christmas and will be looking to spend some time with her family.
She said: “I’ve lived away from home for about 15 years now, but always try to get back at least six times a year. I definitely miss the people.”
Aside from attending international events, Claire is also a Senior Lecturer in Crime Writing at City University London, pens romance novels under the name of Eva Woods and the BBC has bought the rights to her first two novels.
It’s a wonder she has any time for writing.
She said: “Writing novels is a bit of a balancing act, but I try to do at least an hour every day. My next book will be released in March and I’ve just started writing my fifth book in the series, which I’m really enjoying. Luckily it’s the end of term for my students, so I’ll have a bit of extra time over Christmas to really get stuck into it, and I’m hoping this Mexico visit will prove inspirational.”
The 2015 Mexico-UK Year of Culture aims to bring UK and Mexican societies closer together in the years ahead. Throughout 2015, Mexico has carried out the biggest celebration of UK creativity in arts, culture, innovation and business ever to take place in Mexico.
It is just one campaign through the British Council that creates international opportunities worldwide. For more information on British Council Northern Ireland visit: http://nireland.britishcouncil.org, follow on Twitter: Bcouncil_NI or Facebook.