Outstanding Line-Up for Harrogate’s Annual Crime Writing Festival

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Huge Literary Names Announced for 2019 Event

by Sarah Morgan

It’s not everyday that genuine superstars roll into town, but in the case of Harrogate, it happens every summer at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.

It feels like a cliche, or at the very least bland publicity speak, to say that the event keeps getting better and better, but it’s true.

In recent years, attendees have been lucky enough to see the likes of JK Rowling, Lee Child, Ian Rankin and John Grisham, but this year, Programming Chair Mari Hannah has managed to attract an outstanding line-up, headlined by James Patterson, one of the best-selling authors of all time, who is making his Harrogate debut.

“I’m really looking forward to coming to Harrogate this year and meeting my UK fans,” says Patterson.

harrogate crime writing festival 2019 preview james patterson

James Patterson
image: Rankin

“Noteworthy appearance”

Jo Nesbo is in town to launch his much-anticipated new thriller Knife, the latest in his Harry Hole series, while Ian Rankin is back, in conversation with American star Harlan Coben.

Lawyer-turned-writer Jeffrey Deaver also returns to Yorkshire, having appeared a couple of years ago, as did MC Beaton, creator of the wonderful Agatha Raisin; this time around, this wittiest of ladies – who looks more like your Gran than somebody dealing with death and destruction – will be chatting to the equally applauded Stuart McBride.

Belinda Bauer, who broke into the mainstream literary world when her novel Snap was longlisted for the 2018 Booker Prize, is set to share the stage with two other female powerhouses – Eva Dolan, fresh from the success of her standalone tome This Is How It Ends, and Erin Kelly, whose latest book, Stone Mothers, has been described as an irresistible psychological suspense tale.

Plus, TV fans get a chance to hear from Jed Mercurio, creator of In the Line of Duty and last year’s smash-hit drama Bodyguard.

But perhaps the most noteworthy appearance is that of Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, who reveals her love for crime novels during a conversation with her friend and the festival’s co-founder, Val McDermid.

harrogate crime writing festival 2019 val mcdermid

Val McDermid
image: Charlotte Graham

“Powerhouse”

Even visitors who don’t have a ticket for every event can hang out at the venue, The Old Swan Hotel, where authors – around 90 in total will appear across the weekend – publishers and wannabe writers mingle, chewing the fat and putting the world to rights (or should that be writes?); after all, the event is well known as being the friendliest festival around.

“Announcing James Patterson in my year as Festival Chair is a huge honour,” states Mari Hannah. “Harrogate has a reputation for its powerhouse special guests. Every year, the programming committee work hard to attract the very best crime writers to the festival from around the world.

“The response to 2019’s line-up has been incredible. I’m looking forward to welcoming readers in July.”

Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, 18-21 July 2019 | Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate. More info: harrogateinternationalfestivals.com

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