Regular readers will know that I like to get out and about and go to a few crime literature festivals across the year, and then report back here on some of the panels and some of the words spoken within them. Arguably the biggest is the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate, held at the Old Swan hotel. One of my highlights every year at the festival is the New Blood panel, where crime writing legend, Val McDermid, hosts a panel comprising four authors who have published debut novels during the past year (or are about to publish). Val herself picks the panellists – which is a ringing endorsement in itself – and this year, the panel has been announced ahead of time.
Yes, it’s that time of year where I pack my bags and head northwards to the beautiful Yorkshire spa town of Harrogate to partake in a bit of crime. Not that kind of crime – of course not – but the kind of crime we all like – crime stories. This year, as ever, there’s an impressive roster of crime writers featuring in some really great-sounding panel sessions. I’ll be there from tomorrow, blogging the whole thing and trying to bring you as much of the experience as possible. So who’s on and what am I most looking forward to?
Every year, me and a few chums make the long drive from our London homes up into beautiful Yorkshire and the even lovelier spa town of Harrogate for the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival. Held annually at the Old Swan Hotel – the place that Agatha Christie used as a bolt hole during her mysterious ‘disappearance’ in 1926 (over 1,000 police constables were assigned to look for the missing then 26-year-old megastar writer), and it’s a fitting place to host what is crime fiction fans’ version of Glastonbury. (Interestingly, I read today that Paramount Studios is turning this period of Christie’s life into a film, and a very strange-sounding one at that. Read that story here.) Every year there are loads of crime novelists (a suspicion of crime writers? a case of crime writers? a plot of crime writers?) appearing in wide-ranging panels, while crime fiction enthusiasts like me shuffle from bar to marquee to event room enjoying the whole relaxed atmosphere and inspiration these writers often provide. But it’s not just crime fiction that the festival covers. The first year I went there was Neil Cross and the Luther team on one of the panels, and last year it was Broadchurch (complete with Chris Chibnall, Olivia Colman and Joie Whittaker, which was terrific). So who fills the TV slot this year?