Val McDermid Reveals Best New Crime Writer Picks for Harrogate Festival

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by Sarah Morgan

Val McDermid loves new blood. No, the veteran author isn’t a vampire – the ‘new blood’ she enjoys isn’t the stuff running through our veins, but rather fledgling crime writers just starting their careers.

Each year, she handpicks her favourite rising talents and introduces them during a lively discussion at Harrogate’s Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. It’s become one of the highlights of the annual event, and something regular attendees bemoaned having to miss when this year’s shindig at the Old Swan Hotel was cancelled.

So they’ll be pleased to know that Val isn’t giving up on her new blood that easily. She’s chosen a quartet she expects to follow in her footsteps by becoming bestsellers shortly.

Deepa Anappara is the author of Djinn Patrol On The Purple Line, a heartbreaking mix of mystery and thought-provoking social commentary set in the slums of modern India.

Val McDermid Reveals Best New Crime Writer Picks for Harrogate Festival books

“Unflinching gaze”

Elizabeth Kay’s Seven Lies has been described as ‘taking domestic noir to a whole new level’, while there’s a major buzz about Jessica Moor’s Keeper. Finally, Trevor Wood makes McDermid’s list for his debut The Man On The Street, a gritty thriller set in Newcastle.

The group will be speaking to McDermid via video link, an event that will be made available to the public on the festival’s HIF Player on Saturday, July 25. She will also be interviewed about the new blood discussion’s legacy by Mark Lawson.

“I have been hosting the New Blood showcase since the festival began in 2003 and, in my book, discovering and sharing new talent with an eager audience is the best job in crime fiction,” says McDermid.

“If this year’s debuts share a theme, it is the irresistible and devastating way in which crime fiction shines a light on our times: homelessness, domestic violence, child trafficking and mental health are all dissected with an unflinching gaze.

“Whilst we can’t gather en masse at the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate this year, I hope that readers will enjoy our virtual introduction to these brilliant new writers.”

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