every year crime fiction readers and writers make their way to harrogate for the theakstons old peculier crime writing festival. the four day event is packed with workshops, panel discussions, author dinners and award ceremonies.
peter james, who will be chairing the festival this year, says, "harrogate will fling its charming doors open to authors from america, south africa, australia, new zealand, europe and canada, and more. there will be the giants of the genre we've come to expect from a festival as brilliant as harrogate, and we'll be exploring that enticing world of the page turner. page turners have that the magaical ability to transport you elsewhere. to keep you hooked, desperate for the next chatper, a little bereft when it's all over, because you want more. a bit like the festival really... prepare to be gripped!"

here's a run down of where you can catch our authors: 

thursday 21 july

creative thursday | old swan hotel | all day

join william ryan and m. r. hall for a workshop aimed at writers who have completed or are working on a first draft and want to take it to the next level and for beginners aiming to turn promising ideas into great novels. focusing on how to construct and test a solid crime fiction plot, how to make sure your characters are working together to push your story.

find out more

friday 22nd july

you couldn't make it up. or could you? | old swan hotel | 10.30am 

does life imitate art far more than art imitates life? from oscar pistorius to making a murderer, true crime grips. peter james discusses the role of real life cases with his friend and advisor, former chief superintendent graham bartlett. the once commander of brighton and hove police said he’s ‘yet to find a procedural mistake’ in james’ roy grace series.  

joining them is ysra sigurdardottir ‘iceland’s answer to stieg larsson’, and mari hannah, author of the kate daniels series, whose career as a probation officer no doubt influenced her writing – as well as that of her partner’s – a former murder detective. keeping proceedings accurate is chair, sharon bolton, whose contacts in the metropolitan police have helped inspire stories and characters.

find out more and book your tickets

set a scientist to catch a killer | old swan hotel | 3.30pm 

there’s no hiding from science. forensics has transformed detecting crimes, taking the genre from the puzzle in the library to the minutia under the microscope.

peter james gets the facts straight with ex-cid officer dave gaylor and forensic podiatrist haydn kelly.

giving evidence are authors with a few ‘ologies under their belts – dr brooke magnanti, elly griffiths and kate medina.

find out more and book your tickets

saturday 23rd july

jeffrey deaver interviewed by mark lawson | old swan hotel | 9.00am

he’s written an authorised james bond thriller carte blanche, and the bone collector starred denzel washington and angelina jolie. loved for his chutzpah plotting and vice-like page-turning grip, the man himself, like his novels, can wrong-foot our assumptions. it’s a killer of a twist. did you know he is a breeder of prize-winning poodles? and is a former folk singer-songwriter?

can one of the bbc’s most enduring arts journalists, mark lawson, convince jeffery to give us a tune? expect edge-of-your-seat stuff, as lawson puts this icon under scintillating scrutiny.

find out more and book your tickets

martina cole in conversation with peter james | old swan hotel | 5.00pm 

martina is the long-reigning author of the criminal underworld with unflinching portraits of violent east end criminals.  her uncompromising grit turned her into a literary powerhouse. she’s sold 13 million books. famously, hers are the most requested books in her majesty’s prison service, where she’s a frequent visitor for the right reasons – giving creative workshops.

peter james explores her phenomenal career.

find out more and book your tickets

kill me quick: author dinner | old swan hotel | 6.30pm 

roll up your trousers, pop on some sun cream. no. 1 bestselling author peter james is bringing the dark side of brighton to harrogate.

the creator of the unstoppable detective roy grace will host an evening of seaside themed food and fun. crack the case as authors harry bingham, mj carter, mason cross, felix francis, kate hamer, joanne harris, james henry, mick herron, sarah hilary, christobel kent, alison joseph, kate london, louise millar, ann morgan, james runcie, leigh russell, dreda say mitchell and luca veste apply their criminal minds, alongside their napkins.

includes 2 course murder mystery dinner and a glass of wine.

find out more and book your tickets

sunday 24th july

political corruption | old swan hotel | 10.00am 

the world of politicians is rich fodder for the crime genre. riddled with corruption, fury and the power-mad.

gillian slovo’s childhood was surrounded by political intrigue – her father the south african communist party leader, joe slovo, her mother the murdered journalist, ruth first. the winner of the golden pen award uses the thriller genre to interrogate individual lives caught up in political events.

she joins broadcaster mark lawson whose novels feature dark social comedies (the deaths) and political satire (enough is enough). kate rhodes sets her thrillers in the urban landscape of london, with a killing of angels focussed on the murders of city bankers. bbc’s frank gardner draws on his years of experience reporting on security matters and the master of political spy thrillers charles cumming, who was once recruited by mi6, chairs.

find out more and book your tickets

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