Three words I never thought I’d be typing on this blog: Juan Pablo Escobar. In among all the crime fiction authors here in Oslo for Krimfestivalen, there has been one exception to the rule: the son of one of the most notorious criminals the world has ever seen. Juan Pablo is here in Norway to promote his book Pablo Escobar: My Father and he has been a big draw – last night he commanded the stage alongside other big names at the Osly Nye Centralteatret, and today he formed a one-man guest panel. (It should also be noted that the likes of Anne Holt, Arne Dahl and half an hour of crime-based improvisational comedy were also part of the theatre program.) The session was packed. There seems to be a real interest in the man and his life, and you could hardly move – it was easily the most attended session here at Krimfestivalen. But it felt strange to me: the Colombian drug wars of the 1980s and Pablo Escobar’s empire feel like a world away from Norway, and Escobar Jnr was someone I was genuinely not expecting to encounter. No matter, it was fascinating stuff and the crowd was rapt so I’ve combined the two sessions and tried to summarise them both.
Day two of the Krimfestivalen in Oslo saw more English-language panels, which was obviously good for me. Hidden away in a breathless schedule was the appearance of rising star of British crime fiction Joseph Knox, whose debut novel, Sirens, has won heaps of critical acclaim. I was excited so to see Joseph talk, appearing as he did alongside sprightly-dressed Swedish author Stefan Anheim and Iceland’s Yrsa Sigurðardóttir in the Norli bookshop. In fact, one of the things this festival has done very well has been to interact with the local book community, staging events and panels in book shops near to the Cappelen Damm publishing house main venue.