The trail of clues makes it clear that increasing numbers of eager crime and thriller fans and writers are drawn to the expanding number of UK fiction events. Here is an extended version of my latest crime festival round-up that appeared in Natasha Harding’s @sunbookscolumn. Details were correct at the time of writing. Be sure to check the links for the latest evidence.
WhitLit, Whitstable, Kent (May 11-15): This focuses on 007 creator Ian Fleming and his Kent connections. Sessions also include Charles Cumming (A Colder War), SJ Parris (Giordano Bruno) and Francesca Kay (The Long Room) discussing spy novels and Kent Killers with Lesley Cookman (Libby Sarjeant) and HI-DE-HI actress Linda Regan (Guts For Garters).
www.whitlit.co.uk – @whitstablelit
Crimefest, Bristol (May 19-22): One of the Big Two, sessions include Debut Authors; What’s it Like Being In Your Characters’ Heads?; Partners And Sidekicks; Women As Killers, Investigators And Victims; Brit Noir and Troubled Souls – Morality, Society And Justice In Crime Fiction plus Crime Writing Day and the Crimefest pub quiz with Peter Guttridge (The Brighton Trilogy). Among more than 100 writers will be 2016 CWA Dagger winner Peter James (Roy Grace), Ian Rankin (Rebus), Ann Cleeves (Vera, Shetland), Quentin Bates (Frozen Out), Alex Blackmore (Killing Eva), Matt Bendoris (DM For Murder), JS Law (Tenacity), SJI Holliday (Willow Walk), Amanda Jennings (In Her Wake), MR Hall (Jenny Cooper), William Ryan (Captain Korolev), Charles Cumming (A Colder War), Helen Giltrow (The Distance), Mari Hannah (Settled Blood), Paul Hardisty (The Abrupt Physics Of Dying), Zoë Sharp (Charlie Fox), Tim Weaver (David Raker) and Laura Wilson (The Wrong Girl). “Captain Hastings” actor Hugh Fraser (Harm) is toastmaster at the gala dinner.
www.crimefest.com – @CrimeFest
Bodies From The Library, British Library (Jun 11): The second conference on the Golden Age Of Detective Fiction Writers. Speakers include Susan Moody (Penny Wanawake, Cassandra Swann) and Agatha Christie expert Dr John Curran.
https://thebodiesfromthelibrary.wordpress.com/ – @BodiesFTLibrary
Crime Story, Northumbria University, Newcastle (Jun 11): Readers and writers can see inside a criminal investigation as 20 experts in detection, offenders and CSI techniques work to solve a fictional murder written specially for this event by The Girl On The Train author Paula Hawkins.
www.crimestory.co.uk – @NewWritingNorth
Slaughter In Southwold, Suffolk (Jun 18-19): Part of Southwold Arts Festival, this features Anya Lipska (Kiszka & Kershaw) and Peter James. Panels include Is The Female Deadlier Than The Male with Kate Rhodes, Erin Kelly and Alison Joseph and Starting A Crime Novel with Kate Rhodes plus the Elementary My Dear Watson crime quiz.
http://suffolklibraries.co.uk/events-activities/slaughter-in-southwold-crime-writing-festival – @SouthwoldLib
All Night Write, Brighton (Jun 18-19): A unique lock-in for aspiring writers for a night of creative brainstorming with more than 20 bestselling authors including Julia Crouch (The Long Fall), William Shaw (Breen & Tozer), PD Viner (The Last Winter Of Dani Lancing), Susan Wilkins (The Mourner), Emlyn Rees (Danny Shanklin) and Rebecca Whitney (The Liar’s Chair).
http://88londonroad.com/whats-on/all-night-write – @DarkStormyFest
Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Harrogate (July 21-24): Giants of the genre gather for an event described as the crime writing industry’s AGM that last year sold almost 14,000 tickets for more than 30 events. It’s also an opportunity to sup good Yorkshire ale. Programme chairman Peter James will be joined by 90 writers at the Old Swan hotel where Agatha Christie was found in 1926 after vanishing for 11 days. Among them will be Jeffery Deaver (The Bone Collector), Martina Cole (Dangerous Lady), Neil Cross (Luther), Tess Gerritsen (Rizzoli & Isles), Val McDermid (Splinter The Silence), Gerald Seymour (Harry’s Game) and Mark Billingham (Tom Thorne).
Creative Thursday is a series of writing workshops. Budding writers can get to grips with psychological thrillers, one of the hottest publishing trends, with award-winning writers Sarah Hilary and Alex Marwood. Authors William Ryan and MR Hall will look at how to turn a good idea into a commercial novel. There’s also a chance to pitch to agents and publishers in ‘Dragons’ Pen’.
Panels include “Domestic Suspense – The Killer Behind The Front Door” with Julia Crouch, Helen Fitzgerald, Paula Hawkins, Clare Mackintosh and Alex Marwood. The way forensics has transformed detection will be examined by Dave Gaylor, Elly Griffiths, Peter James, Haydn Kelly, Brooke Magnanti and Kate Medina.
The thorny question “How many years does it take to become an overnight success?” with be explored by Sophie Hannah, Simon Kernick, Laura Lippman, Martyn Waites and Laura Wilson.
Political corruption as crime fiction will be exposed by Charles Cumming, Frank Gardner, Mark Lawson, Kate Rhodes and Gillian Slovo. And there will also be a panel on French crime authors and a spotlight on South Africa, exploring one of the world’s most violent societies. Val McDermid will introduce her pick of four sparkling “New Blood” talents of 2016 – JS Law (Tenacity), Martin Holmen (Clinch), Beth Lewis (The Wolf Road) and Abir Mukherjee (A Rising Man). Peter James brings the dark side of Brighton to Harrogate with his Kill Me Quick murder mystery dinner.
http://harrogateinternationalfestivals.com/topcwf2016/ – @TheakstonsCrime
The crime festival trail goes cold in August… but autumn is coming