Wednesday 22 March 2023

Crimewave Heads to Bristol


A crimewave is headed to Bristol as CrimeFest sees more than 150 authors take part in the crime fiction convention this May.

CrimeFest, which is sponsored by Specsavers, has revealed its full line up for the four-day celebration of the UK’s most popular genre, hosted at the Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel from Thursday 11 to Sunday 14 May, 2023.

Alongside 2023 featured guests - stalwarts of the genre, Mark Billingham and Elly Griffiths – around 50 panels will explore everything from crime fiction set during World War Two, to the crime genre in the digital age.

Panellists include Andrew Child, co-author of the Jack Reacher novels, adapted as Reacher by Amazon Prime, author of the award-winning crime series set in India, Vaseem Khan, and Robert Thorogood, the creator behind the smash-hit BBC One series, Death in Paradise.

As Nielson book data report that sales of crime fiction in 2022 are up 19% pre-pandemic levels, one panel explores today’s ‘New Golden Age’ with the leading authority of the original Golden Age of crime fiction, Martin Edwards, alongside Janice Hallett, best known for her phenomenally successful debut, The Appeal. The panel is chaired by Agatha Christie’s publisher, David Brawn.

Nielson book data also reported an “increased appetite” in ‘cosy crime’ in 2022 book sales. The panel, ‘Keeping it Cosy’ features the former journalist turned mystery writer, Fiona Veitch Smith, and author of the Lady Hardcastle mysteries, T E Kinsey.

Marking the 70th anniversary of the publication of Casino Royale, the first James Bond novel, this year’s Ghost of Honour commemorates Ian Fleming. The panel includes the first female 007 author, Kim Sherwood. She will be joined by Corinne Turner, managing director of Ian Fleming Publications, with panel moderator, Simon Brett.

Also attending from Colorado is the winner of last year’s CrimeFest Specsavers Debut Crime Novel award with Winter Counts, David Heska Wanbli Weiden. The Professor of Native American Studies and Political Science at Metropolitan State University of Denver is an enrolled citizen of the Sicangu Lakota nation. He was named by the New York Times as one of “the most critically acclaimed young novelists working now.”

He will feature on a panel with the Icelandic novelist, playwright, and former wife of the Prime Minister of Iceland, Jónína Leósdóttir.

The former police detective turned author, Graham Bartlett appears on the panel, ‘Society: What Crime Fiction Says About Us’. Bartlett has advised some of the biggest names in crime fiction to inject reality into procedurals, and has now turned to crime fiction, with his debut, Bad for Good.

Panellists also include the son of Dick Francis, the crime writer Felix Francis, creator of the Cait Morgan Mysteries Cathy Ace, the international number one bestselling author, Liz Nugent, and Antony Johnston, the New York Times-bestselling creator of Atomic Blonde, the hit movie based on his graphic novel.

Bristol author The Sunday Times bestselling author, C. L. Taylor, who has sold nearly two million copies of her books in the UK alone, also features. As does the multi-million bestselling author Adele Parks, who will be discussing plot twists in ‘A Twist in the Tale’ with her fellow blockbusting author, Lisa Jewell, who has topped the New York Times and Sunday Times charts.

Author, playwright and TV and radio producer Simon Brett features on a panel ‘Partners in Crime’, chaired by Kate Ellis, best known for her series of detective novels which blend history and mystery.

Kia Abdullah, whose novel Take it Back was a Guardian and Telegraph thriller of the year will be on the panel, ‘Protagonists Under Pressure’ with the Scottish author, Caro Ramsay.

Leading minds from the genre include the Financial Times crime fiction reviewer and genre expert, Barry Forshaw, the chair of the Crime Writers’ Association and all-round publishing polymath, Maxim Jakubowski, alongside the President of the Detection Club - the novelist and leading authority on crime fiction, Martin Edwards.

Highlights include the annual Pub Quiz with the journalist and author Peter Guttridge as the Inquisitor; Peter is also the Toastmaster at the annual CrimeFest Awards.

Bristol-born Dame Mary Lesley Perkins DBE co-founded the optician chain and is an avid reader. Dame Mary will attend the CrimeFest gala dinner and awards presentation, which features the CrimeFest Specsavers Debut Crime Novel Award. The annual CrimeFest awards are now in their 16th year and honour the best crime books released in 2022 in the UK.

Director and co-founder of CrimeFest, Adrian Muller, said: “The fact that sales of the genre continue to rise, and it now dominates our TV screens shows the remarkable appeal of crime fiction. The line-up this year illustrates the wealth and breadth of topics behind a genre that not only offers escapism and entertainment, but can also give insights and comment on pressing issues in society.

Donna Moore, co-founder of CrimeFest, added: “CrimeFest is a chance for readers and authors to mingle in a friendly, accessible, and fun setting. We hope people will come along, and be inspired.

Panel topics explore humour in crime fiction, serial killers, psychological thrillers, and the importance of settings. A Fresh Blood panel will also showcase debut authors.

For those who think it’s a crime to miss Eurovision, CrimeFest will also be screening the Eurovision Final Song Contest on Saturday 13 May in the convention hotel.

CrimeFest runs at the Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel from 11-14 May, 2023. For details and to book, go to:

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