In honour of the Arthur Ellis Awards for Excellence in Crime Writing, held last Thursday: This post, from a few years ago.
By Melodie Campbell
Okay, I haven’t done it yet. But I may soon.
I’m the Executive Director of a well-known crime writing association. This means I am also responsible for the Arthur Ellis Awards, Canada’s annual crime writing awards night, and the resulting banquet.
I’ve planned hundreds of special events in my career as a marketing professional. I’ve managed conferences with 1000 people attending, scarfing down three meals a day. Usually, we offer a few choices, and people choose what they want. They’re pretty good about that. People sit where they want. Simple.
Granted, most of my events have been with lab techs, doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals.
It is not the same with authors. Nothing is simple with authors.
THE SEATING ARRANGEMENT
A can’t sit with B, because A is in competition with B for Best Novel. C can’t sit with D because C is currently outselling D. E can’t sit with F because they had an affair (which nobody knows about. Except they do. At least, the seven people who contacted me to warn me about this knew.) G can’t sit with H because G’s former agent is at that table and they might kill each other. And everyone wants to sit with J.
The damned meal is chicken. This is because we are allowed two choices and we have to provide for the vegetarians. We can’t have the specialty of the house, lamb, because not everyone eats lamb. We can’t have salmon as the vegetarian choice, because some vegetarians won’t eat fish.
So we’re stuck with bloody chicken again.
P writes that her daughter is lactose intolerant. Can she have a different dessert?
K writes that she is vegetarian, but can’t eat peppers. Every damned vegetarian choice has green or red pepper in it.
L writes that she wants the chicken, but is allergic to onion and garlic. Can we make hers without?
M writes that her daughter is a vegan, so no egg or cheese, thanks. Not a single vegetarian choice comes that way.
I am quickly moving to the “you’re getting chicken if I have to shove it down your freaking throat” phase.
Chef is currently threatening the catering manager with a butcher’s knife. I am already slugging back the cooking wine. And by the time people get here, this may be a Murder Mystery dinner.
Nobody got murdered, but a few got hammered.