The Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival has launched its annual Big Read. Readers across the North are being invited to celebrate the life and work of one of the world’s greatest writers, PD James.
In partnership with Faber & Faber and libraries and reading groups in the North of England, the 2016’s Big Read is James’ An Unsuitable Job for a Woman.
The Big Read initiative aims to encourage as many people as possible to celebrate great crime writing by reading the same novel at the same time. An Unsuitable Job for a Woman introduces Cordelia Gray, the first modern female detective in crime fiction.
At the time of creating Cordelia Gray, P.D. James worked as a civil servant in the crime department of the Home Office. Regarding this novel, she wrote: 'I wanted to have a young heroine of courage and intelligence who faces the problems of life with a determination to be successful in a job which everyone else thinks she won't be able to do.
The Big Read begins on Monday May 9 and runs until Friday May 13, with free events in libraries across the North with Festival Reader in Residence and bestselling crime author, Mari Hannah. Hannah is the award-winning author of the Kate Daniels crime fiction series.
Mari said. “It’s a particular honour to be taking PD James on the Big Read, not just because of her brilliance and legendary status but because of the novel itself. An Unsuitable Job for a Woman is a classic crime novel introducing a lead character ahead of her time. PD James was a true pioneer who gave the rest of us something to chase.”
PD James was the Grande dame of mystery, linked with the golden age of detective writing and the successor to Agatha Christie. After Christie’s death she was called the new Queen of Crime.
Made famous by her most iconic character, detective Adam Dalgliesh, James began writing aged 40 and went on to write over 18 novels and has collected numerous awards and honours. Aged 91, she received the Theakstons Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award in 2011. She died in 2014, aged 94.
Literature Festivals Manager Gemma Rowland said: “We are enormously proud of the Festival’s outreach and literacy initiatives. The Big Read is one such project which aims to encourage local people to get reading together. Thanks to the generous support of publisher Faber, the Festival has been able to distribute 1500 copies of An Unsuitable Job for a Woman to local reading groups through our partner library services across Yorkshire, Middlesbrough and Tyneside for free.”