Daily Archives: July 22, 2011

Harrogate Crime Writing Festival – Friday

The first full day at the festival and, wow, what a day.

Based on comments made and the sheer volume of people here (in excess of 9000 tickets sold), this really is shaping up for an even bigger festival next year for the 10th Anniversary of the festival.

Once again, this is a late post, followed by an early start tomorrow for more great crime events, so a quick summary follows (full event write-ups will follow when the dust settles).

Kicking off with a superbly entertaining Special Guest appearance by the ‘contemporary Queen of the British Crime Novel’ Martina Cole – interviewed by Festival Chair Dreda Say Mitchell – this was just the tonic to wake us all from our Thursday night sore heads.

Then it was Penned In – an interesting and, at times, disturbing, insight into the minds and writing of three authors (Cass Pennant, Jonathan Aitken & Erwin James) as they discussed their time inside and what led to them writing with Duncan Campbell.

Just time for a quick coffee before it was back to the seats for Wrong ‘Uns.  James Twining held the fort with a discussion between Mandasue Heller, Denise Mina, Craig Robertson and Alex Wheatle.  A walk through the dark alleyways of each of their minds and books.

Lunch break (and a very good lunch it was too) was followed by Old Blood – in which Martyn Waites got to chat with former New Blood authors Nick Stone, Allan Guthrie, Cathi Unsworth and Mark Mills about their successes since the day that they appeared at Harrogate as newbie writers.

What Lies Beneath had NJ Cooper delve into the work and the minds of the psychological thriller with Sophie Hannah, Tana French, Steve Mosby and (standing in for Camilla Lackberg who has sadly been taken ill and unable to attend) Andrew Taylor.

Chasing the Story followed (unfortunately without Niamh O’Connor who was unable to attend) and I was also unable to make this event due to a dash to get changed and ready for the following event.  I have heard since that Belinda Bauer stepped in and that it was one of the best events of the day (if anyone has pictures or wants to send me a brief report on that one it would be gratefully received).

Then it was time for The Daggers & Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards – a veritable who’s who of the greatest names in crime fiction all in one great room for an event only marred by the fact that all of the recipients of prizes were either overseas or unable to attend.

Back to the main hall for a great discussion with perfect banter between Linwood Barclay and Lisa Gardner – hilarious at times and very insightful into both of their writing styles and research.

And last up, a unique event for the festival.

The first time that the X-Rated certificate has been applied and the first time that an unsponsored event has taken place.  Howard Marks took to the stage with Mark Lawson and told us that he had tried to get sponsorship from Rizzla, but they weren’t interested ☺

A Fantastic Festival Friday – Bring on Saturday!!!! (but after a bit of shut-eye I think).


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Harrogate Crime Writing Festival – Thursday.

What follows is short and sweet, due to the fact that it’s now 2am and I’m hoping to be up and back to see Martina Cole at 9am ! – That’s Harrogate for you 🙂

A fantastic evening’s launch tonight, which saw Geraint Jones win the Alibi Search for a New Crime Writer Award, PD James receive a special award for her contribution to crime writing and Lee Child scoop the Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year for 61 Hours.

All that, plus a new, festival only, brew from Theakstons – Crime of Passion – what more could you ask for?  Okay, how about three more packed days and nights of Harrogate Crime Writing fun – cos that’s what is about to follow.

A lengthier blog and more pics will follow in due course, but I’m hoping these mini reports and pics will be enough to whet the appetite in the meantime.







And, next year’s looking mighty fine already – returning Chair, Mark Billingham, has already secured Harlan Coben, John Connolly and Charlaine Harris for 2012.

More tomorrow (although actually that’s today already.)


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Filed under Book events, Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Harrogate 2011