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By Kimberly Howe

ThrillerFest VI delivered four days of non-stop action, setting new attendance records and gracing the Grand Hyatt with the best of the best in the genre. The eye-catching banners on the bustling streets of NYC caused a buzz, enticing both locals and tourists to join us and meet their favorite authors. People came from around the corner and from around the globe–including Australia, England, and Qatar–to celebrate the sixth year of ThrillerFest. Click through to read the full story.

Over the week, our 2010 ThrillerMaster, Ken Follett, revealed his writing secrets along with tales of his publishing journey. Our 2011 ThrillerMaster, R.L. Stine, proved that not only could he give readers goosebumps, he could have everyone in stitches with stories of interactions with his pint-sized fans. Spotlight guests Robert Crais, Diana Gabaldon, and John Lescroart shared their personal stories, demonstrating the diversity of celebrated writers. All the attendees had a chance to meet these well-respected authors at the interviews, workshops, and signings.

For fans of spy novels, we had real-life CIA agents at ThrillerFest, detailing what it’s like to work in the field in foreign countries. Writers and fans flocked around these experts to ask questions about the modern-day life of a spy. Other special guests included the talented Margaret Atwood, who demonstrated her virtual signing technology, and our non-fiction honoree, Joe McGinniss, who shared his insights into the world of true crime.

The Debut Author breakfast was a huge hit, as 21 new authors were honored for their first foray into the thriller genre. Our Silver Bullet winner Karin Slaughter delivered a memorable keynote to a packed ballroom.

The Awards Banquet on Saturday night included an original parody of Kenny Roger’s “The Gambler” titled, “The Writer,” by Michael and Daniel Palmer, the Presidents’ report presented by ITW Co-President Douglas Preston, and of course the Thriller Awards.

For the first time, the future faces of publishing–students at NYU–met their favorite authors, joined in the workshops, and mingled with industry professionals. We also offered an advanced screening of Salvation Boulevard, a movie based on the book by ITW author Larry Beinhart, starring Pierce Brosnan, Ed Harris, Greg Kinnear, and Marisa Tomei.

Have you ever dreamed about writing a book? If so, CraftFest was the place to be, offering classes on writing from bestselling authors like Steve Berry, David Morrell, Phillip Margolin, Michael Palmer, and many more. For those writers who have finished a novel, we had over 60 agents keen to hear pitches at AgentFest, hoping to discover the next great author.

As ThrillerFest continues to grow and develop, we’ll work hard to maintain our innovative edge, seeking out new and exciting workshops and panels. If you were unable to join us this year, please make plans to book off July 11-14, 2012 for ThrillerFest VII. Special guests include 2012 ThrillerMaster Jack Higgins, John Sandford, Lee Child, and Ann Rule, to name just a few. We hope to see you there!

You might also enjoy reading these ThrillerFest 2011 accounts:


Readers Entertainment – Top Names Bring Big Thrills at ThrillerFest 2011

Ian Walkley “ThrillerFest VI

Jennifer Hillier – ThrillerFest 2011 – Day 1ThrillerFest 2011 – Day 2

Publishers Weekly, Peter Cannon – “Bringing More Fear into the World: Thrillerfest VI

Publishers Weekly, Beyond Her Book – “ThrillerFest VI

Photos by Janice Gable Bashman, Karen Dionne, Jennifer Hillier, Sheila English, Pascal Marco, Rob Neil, Alan Jacobson

And finally, if you weren’t able to attend ThrillerFest VI, or if you did, but missed some of the panels — or if you’d like to listen to what your favorite speakers had to say again — you’ll be delighted to know that CDs, MP3s, and DVDs from the CraftFest 2011 and ThrillerFest 2011 writers conference are now available for purchase. Recordings of ThrillerFests 2010, 2009, and 2008 are available as well.