Thrillers are my favorite fiction genre, so I’m counting the days until July 10, when Thrillerfest opens in New York City at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
I’ve attended Thrillerfest five times and I’ve always referred to it as a conference or convention for writers and aficionados of the thriller genre, but Steve Berry’s explanation is far better.
“Thrillerfest is summer camp for thriller writers and enthusiasts,” he told me recently when we spoke on the phone. “It’s the gathering of our genre.”
Berry is a New York Times bestselling author with more than 22 million books in print, which have been translated into 40 languages and sold in 51 countries. He’s attended every Thrillerfest and has been involved in planning and organizing the event from its inception, 13 years ago.
This year’s guest of honor and “Thrillermaster” is George R. R. Martin ("Game of Thrones") and well-known attendees have included Lee Child, Anne Rice, Nelson DeMille, Robert Crais, Lisa Gardner, Scott Turow, and Heather Graham.
“Thrillerfest is a very different kind of conference,” said Berry. “We have a lot of fans who come — at least several hundred — but it is really geared for writers.”
While there are many famous writers who attend Thrillerfest, Berry says there are just as many who are right on the cusp of fame and about to break out with a bestseller.
I’ve always been impressed by the writers I’ve encountered at Thrillerfest and the fact that they engage and converse with all the attendees.
“We have no barriers at Thrillerfest,” said Berry. “We don’t have private roped off areas or green rooms. It’s writers helping writers, and everyone is the same. We have seminars, panels, speakers — there’s a lot here for everyone be they writers, editors, or readers.”
The one writer who receives special attention every year is the “Thrillermaster,” who needs to be in print for at least 20 years and must have had a significant and meaningful impact on the genre.
“George R. R. Martin certainly meets that criteria,” said Berry. “He’s taken fantasy to a whole other level by bringing it to a mainstream audience and we’re honored that he accepted our invitation. It’s very similar with what Stephen King did with horror and what John Grisham did with legal thrillers and Robin Cook and Michael Palmer with medical thrillers.”
Martin’s presence has certainly had an impact, as registration for Thrillerfest is up, and according to Berry, “almost at 1,000 attendees.”
I love reading great fiction and discussing it with like-minded people and talking about books and authors has always been the most appealing aspect of Thrillerfest for me. You can attend the entire conference or purchase a day pass for a specific event.
Thrillerfest closes on Saturday July 14, with a banquet that Berry calls “one of the premier gatherings in all of publishing, when we hand out our Thriller Awards. Everybody in publishing will be there.”
As a devotee of "Game of Thrones" and the thriller genre, I know I will be there too.
ThrillerFest XIII • July 10 – 14, 2018 • Grand Hyatt • New York City
Rob Taub has enjoyed an eclectic career in film, television, radio, and journalism. He has interviewed everyone from pop stars to presidents and he has written more than 250 articles for People Magazine, FoxNews.com, SI/Cauldron, The Huffington Post, and Thrive Global. Rob is a respected Diabetes Advocate and Obesity Ambassador, writing and speaking regularly about Type 2 diabetes and health. Follow him on Twitter @robmtaub or at www.RobTaub.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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