Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Crime Fiction's Theakstons Old Peculier Festival

I just booked my tickets for this year’s Theakstons Old Peculier Harrogate Crime-Writing Festival, as this year Sharon Canavar and her team have a spectacular line up, including special guests Joe Finder Lee Child, Martina Cole, Howard Marks, Dennis Lehane and Tess Gerritsen. This year, programming chair Dreda Say Mitchell, author of Geezer Girls and more recently Gangster Girl takes the helm, choosing the theme of ‘true crime’ as the inspiration for the programme. The event is being held 21-24 July 2010 at the Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate [England].

Other highlights include a panel discussion with former prison inmates-turned-writers including Noel ‘Razor’ Smith; journalists who have made the transition to writing crime fiction; and Val McDermid’s regular “New Blood” event, showcasing her selection of some of the most exciting and hotly tipped emerging talent. Festival-goers will also have the opportunity to rub shoulders with the cream of international crime writing at the annual Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year party where one author will be awarded the prestigious prize.

Last week, the Shots Team attended the launch party at Brown’s Court Rooms in London. The event was very well attended with crime writers, publishers, editors and reviewers all excited about this year’s event.

Festival Chief Executive Sharon Canavar said: “We are very excited about the You’re Booked website. Over the years it became increasingly clear that one festival weekend wasn’t enough to discuss all the fantastic crime writing out there and so it’s great that we now have a site where fans can continue the conversation. We hope it will become one of the top online destinations to find out the latest and best of the crime fiction genre. Log on now!”

Dreda Say Mitchell said: “It’s such an honour to be selected to chair the crime festival and I’ve had great fun helping to choose the themes and authors who will all be descending upon Harrogate, the crime-writing capital of the world! At a time when funding for the arts and libraries in particular is ever decreasing, it’s even more important to have a festival that encourages people to pick up a book and get reading. I can’t wait!”

Simon Theakston, Executive Director of T&R Theakston said: “We are extremely proud of our ongoing association with Harrogate’s world-class crime fiction festival. This year’s line-up is a potent mix of home grown and international talent and we look forward to welcoming a host of stellar names from across the Atlantic to do battle with Britain’s finest perhaps over a glass or two of our Old Peculier ale.”

Last weeks party also marked the launch of the Festival’s brand new online venture You’re Booked. This website will be an interactive hub for crime writers and readers alike to celebrate the genre by posting their own reviews, joining the book club, as well as reading exclusive interviews with top authors and reading essential writing tips from industry experts. I was flattered last year to be interviewed by the Harrogate team for the new website, due to my passion fro crime and thriller fiction.

This year, the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival returns to the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate which is now part of the Classic Lodges hotel collection. A £6m refurbishment programme was completed in 2006 at the Grade II listed building which dates back to 1840 and is set in five acres of beautiful gardens. The perfect venue for murder mysteries, the Old Swan Hotel is where legendary crime novelist Agatha Christie was eventually tracked down after her mysterious disappearance in 1926, 85 years ago this year.

2011 will see the announcement of the seventh Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. A major accolade in the crime writing field, the prestigious prize is voted for by members of the public. Previous winners of the £3000 prize and handmade engraved beer barrel are Mark Billingham (who scooped the award twice both in 2005 and 2009), RJ Ellory (2010), Val McDermid (2006) and debut authors Alan Guthrie (2007) and Stef Penney (2008). The winner will be announced by broadcaster and festival regular Mark Lawson on the opening night of the festival.

Booking Information -

Weekend packages for the 2011 Festival start from £329 per person (based on twin or double accommodation) or from £399 per person for single accommodation.

Weekend Break packages are also available to book now. Packages include a pass to all Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival events* with three nights bed and English breakfast accommodation at either the Festival venue, or at other high quality Festival Hotels close by. (* excludes Creative Thursday and the Come Die With Me Dinner on the Saturday evening of the Festival).

Individual festival tickets will go on sale from April.

For booking and information call the Festival Office on: +44 (0) 1423 562303 or click here

See you in the bar, and remember The Shots Team will be fielding a team for the Harrogate Crime-Fiction Quiz, to reclaim our crown!

Photos (c) 2009-2011 Ali Karim

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