On the weekend of Oct. 11, downtown Toronto will be crawling with murder-minded visitors. But there’ll be no need to hide indoors: it’s simply time for Bouchercon, the annual world mystery convention – named after the late critic, editor, and author James Boucher – which attracts international authors, publishers, agents, and fans to attend panels, workshops, readings, book signings, award ceremonies, and other genre-related events in a new city each year.
Bouchercon: Passport to Murder is a volunteer-run event, this year co-chaired by authors Helen Nelson and Janet Costello, who have been involved with the organization since 2004, and are also instrumental in the Toronto chapter of Sisters in Crime, an international organization that boasts more than 3,600 members in 48 chapters representing women in the genre. This year marks the first time Bouchercon, which has been running since 1970, has been held in Toronto, with hundreds of authors expected, including guest of honour Louise Penny, as well as Nick Cutter, Barbara Fradkin, Sarah Weinman, and Amy Stuart.
Ausma Zehanat Khan, who currently resides in Denver, Colorado, plans to return to her hometown for this year’s Bouchercon – the third time she has attended the event. “I love meeting readers, so it’s always fun when you do the signing and get to talk to people about your work and they ask you questions. And you can ask them some questions, too, which is always really informative,” says Khan, who is also excited for the opportunity to meet Louise Penny. “And I just like that feeling of being in a room of people who all do the same thing for a living.”