<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
12 ISSUES FOR £24 Subscribe to Yorkshire Life today click here

A look ahead to the 2017 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival

PUBLISHED: 00:00 08 May 2017

Val McDermit best selling author and  co-founder of Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival

Val McDermit best selling author and co-founder of Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival

© Fenris Oswin

A major celebration of Agatha Christie is planned with a new exhibition at the festival.

Harrogate surely leads the way as a top literary location with its annual crime fiction fest, the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, hosted at Agatha Christie’s old haunt, The Old Swan Hotel. Christie was the woman who gave butlers a bad rep and cracked crimes over a cuppa. Perhaps it wasn’t such a great mystery that she was found in Harrogate – renowned for its genteel Midsommer-style flower beds and antique tearooms – after her famous disappearance in 1926.

When Christie’s car was discovered abandoned on a cliff, it sparked the biggest national manhunt the country had known. A banjo player recognised her, having a fine time on the dance floor, at The Old Swan Hotel.

Her spirit lingers as every year hundreds of authors and readers descend on the hotel for the world’s biggest celebration of the crime genre. The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, now in its 15th year, was co-founded by arts charity, Harrogate International Festivals and author Val McDermid.

A major celebration of Agatha Christie is planned with a new exhibition at the festival which will explore the connections between her writing, life and publishing career using rare photographs and documents from Agatha Christie archives and from the publishers HarperCollins.

The festival’s programming chair, Elly Griffiths, author of the Dr Ruth Galloway crime series, said: ‘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.’

Festival goers will join the world’s most celebrated crime authors ‘in conversation, in action and in the bar’ from July 20th-23rd. Special guests are Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Ian Rankin, Peter May, Stuart MacBride, Joseph Finder, Arne Dahl, Kathy Reichs, Brenda Blethyn, Robson Green and James Runcie.

The opening night features the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, in association with retail partner, WHSmith, and media partner the Mail on Sunday. Television panels will focus on ITV’s Vera, featuring author Ann Cleeves and actress Brenda Blethyn, and ITV’s Grantchester, with writer James Runcie and actor Robson Green.

Val McDermid’s annual New Blood panel, one of the most anticipated events in publishing, which features four hand-picked debuts work from Fiona Cummins, Jane Harper, Joseph Knox and Kristen Lepionka.

The day-long writing workshop, Creative Thursday also returns with a chance for aspiring crime writers to pitch to top agents and editors. The festival will also serve up its usual helping of heated debate. From digging into the past to skirting the supernatural, panel authors include Chris Brookmyre, Mick Herron, Alifair Burke, Denise Mina, Belinda Bauer and Graeme Macrae Burnet, who was shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize. There will also be a panel exploring reboots of iconic crime characters, from Poirot to Sherlock, with authors Sophie Hannah, Ruth Ware and Stella Duffy.

Elly Griffiths delivers a special author dinner murder mystery, Digging up the Past, with help from Francis Pryor of Time Team fame. There’ll also be a Graham Norton style Late Night Event with BBC’s Pointless star, Richard Osman, featuring authors Lee Child, Val McDermid and Mark Billingham.

The event, delivered by the Harrogate International Festivals, is one of the most important in the crime publishing calendar. Agents, publishers, publicists, readers and authors attend from all over Europe and the world. The festival is famed for its no barriers approach, as fans, fledgling writers and established superstar authors mingle in the hotel bar, bookshop and tents in the hotel grounds.

Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate July 20th-23rd. For the full programme visit harrogateinternationalfestivals.com Box Office: 01423 562 303

Related articles

More from Out & About

Monday, July 17, 2017

Martin Pilkington went along to West Yorkshire to meet the people who make the town tick

Read more
Thursday, July 13, 2017

Flower power rescues a gloomy Calder Valley town. Richard Darn explains

Read more
Hebden Bridge
Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wander along the eastern edge of Yorkshire from a coastal resort that ‘never quite was’. Terry Fletcher leads the way.

Read more
Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Test your knowledge on the city of York in this picture based quiz.

Read more
Quiz York
Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A new scheme allows you to adopt a mile-long stretch of your local canal

Read more
Monday, July 10, 2017

Staithes was once home to a thriving artists’ colony – and still is, as Jo Haywood discovers.

Read more
Monday, July 10, 2017

Chief executive Nicky Chance-Thompson gives us a guided tour before the grand reopening on August 1st.

Read more
Halifax
Thursday, July 6, 2017

Photographer Andy Bulmer shrugs off the rain to capture scenes from the international horse trials at Bramham for our picture special.

Read more
Equestrian
Thursday, July 6, 2017

So you think you know the historic city of York. Well, there is more to be discovered than you might reckon, says Tony Greenway (who lives there).

Read more
York
Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Tree planting plays a vital role in protecting landscapes here and abroad. Samantha Gibson of Bettys & Taylors explains their mission.

Read more
Bettys

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Yorkshire's trusted business finder