Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival 2017 – Preview

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crime writing festival harrogate 2017 preview

Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival 2017 Preview

July 20 – 23

by Sarah Morgan

It’s a case of murder for breakfast, intrigue for lunch and death by chocolate over dinner…

Yes, this year’s Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival is almost upon us, and as usual, the organisers are serving up a gourmet selection of delights on their menu – other literary events tease us with tasty morsels, but few, if any, are as satisfying as Harrogate’s insight into fictional dastardly deeds.

The festival takes place in the North Yorkshire spa town due to Agatha Christie’s decision to stay there during her infamous disappearance in 1926, so it’s rather fitting that the chief venue, The Old Swan Hotel, will hold an exhibition featuring original artwork and items from the Christie archive over the weekend.

Programming Chair Elly Griffiths, author of the Dr Ruth Galloway crime series, says: “The ghost of Agatha Christie clearly haunts the Old Swan Hotel. Nowhere is the genre she devoted her life to so enthusiastically celebrated than at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival – the biggest event devoted to crime fiction in Europe, if not the world.”

crime writing festival harrogate 2017 preview The Old Swan Hotel

“Giants of the genre”

Previous years have been special, but 2017 seems to be one full of anniversaries, and Simon Theakston, Executive Director of T&R Theakstons – whose speech at the annual Novel of the Year Award, which opens the festival every year, is always one of the highlights – is keen to point out that all will be celebrated in Harrogate.

We mark 30 years of Rebus with Ian Rankin, 20 years since Lee Child introduced us to Jack Reacher, and 15 years since Dennis Lehane released Shutter Island,” he remarks. “I can think of no better place than our Festival – amongst readers, authors, and friends – to raise a glass of Theakston’s beer to these giants of the genre.”

Child will be up early on Friday with the weekend’s first talk at 9am; nobody will be having a lie-in that morning! Rankin pops up on Saturday at 10.30am, while Lehane features later in the day at 5pm.

crime writing festival harrogate 2017 preview gardens

“Inspirational event”

Those who prefer to chow down on TV-based crime will have their appetites sated by TV panel discussions about Vera (featuring her creator Ann Cleves and the woman who plays her, Brenda Blethyn) and Grantchester (during which star Robson Green interviews the series’ author, James Runcie).

Griffiths has penned a special murder mystery with help from Time Team’s Francis Pryor, which will be served up over dinner on Saturday, and Richard Osman is hosting a Graham Norton-style chat show featuring Child and festival stalwarts Val McDermid and Mark Billingham.

And if those don’t get you salivating, perhaps appearances by Chris Brookmyre, Mick Herron, Denise Mina, Belinda Bauer, Sophie Hannah, Ruth Ware, Stella Duffy and many, many more will.

By the time Sunday morning comes around, everyone will be sorry to be saying farewell after another inspirational event. Well, as all the great chefs say, always leave ‘em wanting more!

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