Harrogate's Theakstons Crime Writing Fest is to return in person with cracking line-up

The change in the end date for lockdown may have threatened to put a spanner in the works after the delay to the Government’s roadmap but Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival 2021 has now released its full programme.

Thursday, 1st July 2021, 3:56 pm
Updated Thursday, 1st July 2021, 4:08 pm
Festival Programming Chair Ian Rankin has invited a string of guests to Harrogate for this year's Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.
Festival Programming Chair Ian Rankin has invited a string of guests to Harrogate for this year's Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.

Next month’s list of events with internationally-known authors at the festival’s base at the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate is just as exciting as any normal year with all the big names set to turn up in person.

Festival Programming Chair Ian Rankin has brought together the hottest stars of crime fiction to discuss the future of crime writing from the rise of cutting-edge science and tech to the demise of the police procedural.

Taking place from July 22-25, the special guests will include producer and presenter Richard Osman with the second instalment in his record-breaking cosy crime caper The Thursday Murder Club series; fan favourite Vera and Shetland author Ann Cleeves and the masterful Mark Billingham with his Tom Thorne prequel Cry Baby.

Chief Executive of Harrogate International Festivals, Sharon Canavar, said: “It has been a real journey to bring this year’s festival to life. Working in festivals during Covid is not for the faint-hearted.

“Ian Rankin has brought together a killer line-up of special guests and thought-provoking panels that explore our beloved crime genre in a completely unique way.

“We are so grateful and proud that - after so many challenges - we are at long last able to share this programme with the public.”

This year’s panel talks will take in everything from the perennial appeal of historical crime fiction to the rise of cutting-edge science and tech; the demise of the police procedural to Agatha Christie’s inimitable genius; and the appeal of slick political thrillers.

Ian Rankin, who is the best-selling author of the long-running Rebus series, said: “It is with great pleasure that I can finally share the full programme for Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival 2021.

“After nearly a year-and-a-half of successive lockdowns and restrictions, it is going to be absolutely marvellous to be able to safely gather together and celebrate the genre that we all love so dearly.”

As always, one of the festival highlights will be the announcement on Thursday, July 22 of the winner of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award.

Simon Theakston, Executive Director of the event’s sponsors Theakston, said: “We are always so proud to support the biggest and best crime writing festival in the world and this year’s event feels like a long time coming.

“We can’t wait to welcome everyone back and look forward to seeing you there, with a glass of Old Peculier in hand, of course!”

Killer events: Forthcoming highlights of Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival 2021

Thursday, July 22

Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award winner announced.

Friday, July 23

9am: Special guest Mick Herron interviewed by N J Cooper.

5pm: Special guest Ann Cleeves interviewed by broadcaster Steph McGovern.

8.30pm: Special guests CL Taylor and Clare Mackintosh in conversation.

10pm: Top of the Cops - Elly Griffiths, Ian Rankin OBE, Mark Billingham, Martyn Waites and Abir Mukherjee debate who is their favourite detective.

Saturday, July 24

9am: Special guest Elly Griffiths interviewed by Joe Haddow.

Noon: New Blood - Val McDermid’s sought-after panel returns with this year’s hotly-tipped debut authors including Anna Bailey, Greg Buchanan, Patricia Marques and Lara Thompson.

3.30pm: Watching Me Watching You, Ahh Ha - Chris Brookmyre, Denise Mina, Louise Candlish, Matt Wesolowski and Mark Lawson explore the impact of new and rapidly evolving technology on surveillance, online stalking, identity theft as it relates to crime fiction.

8.30pm: Special guest Mark Billingham interviewed by Ian Rankin.

10pm: Late Night Quiz with authors Val McDermid and Mark Billingham.

Sunday, July 25

9.30am: Christie’s Enduring Allure - Ragnar Jonasson, Ruth Ware, Sarah Phelps, Stuart Turton and Elly Griffiths talk about the crime genre’s Grand Dame: Agatha Christie, who famously disappeared from the festival’s home, the Old Swan Hotel in 1926.

12.30pm: Special guest Richard Osman interviewed by Mark Billingham.

The festival takes place from July 22-25 at the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate.

Tickets are available at the HIF website:


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