Legal thriller expert John Grisham on way to Harrogate crime writing festival

John Grisham
John Grisham

Blockbuster author John Grisham is on his way to Harrogate as one of the headliners for the annual crime writing festival.

Grisham will be interviewed on stage by Lee Child, author of the bestselling Jack Reacher series.

Child is programming chairman of the 2018 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, which takes place in the town from July 19 to 22.

Grisham has earned the tiitle of America’s favourite storyteller’ with his trademark modern legal thriller.

The lawyer-turned-author has had nine of his books adapted to film, including The Firm with Tom Cruise, The Pelican Brief starring Julia Roberts, and A Time to Kill featuring Samuel L Jackson and Matthew McConaughey.

His latest novel, The Rooster Bar, became a number one New York Times bestseller when it was released last October.

It will be published in paperback in July 2018 to coincide with Grisham’s visit to Harrogate.

“About twenty years ago I attended a Chelsea football match with my close friend and editor, Oliver Johnson.

“Afterwards, we retired to a pub and I had my first pint of Theakston Old Peculier. Others followed. It’s my favourite beer in the world,” said Grisham.

“Then Lee Child invited me over for the crime festival, and when I discovered it was sponsored by Theakston, I knew I had to say yes. I’ve never been to Harrogate or even to Yorkshire and I’m really looking forward to the festival.”

Grisham will join fellow American author Don Winslow already announced as a special guest, with the full programme to be announced in April.

“As I live in New York, I’m bringing some very special American friends over and John Grisham and Don Winslow are two of the biggest authors out there,” said Child.

“ I’m really delighted they’ll be hanging out in Harrogate. Alongside the blockbuster heavyweights, festival-goers can expect a really diverse mix of authors and panel events. It’s fun to add my stamp as Chair and bring some different names to Harrogate for the first time.”

There are more than 300 million John Grisham books in print worldwide. Child and Winslow have both sold more than 100 million books.

Title sponsor and executive director of T&R Theakston, Simon Theakston, said: “Over the years the festival has hosted iconic names from PD James to JK Rowling. 2018 has to be the first year we’ve had three American crime writing titans of this scale in our line-up.

“It’s a testament to the programming committee, chaired by the legendary Lee Child, and Harrogate International Festivals that 2018 will be one of the most hotly anticipated events in the literary calendar. I’m delighted that John’s appreciation of Old Peculier was a positive factor in persuading him to come from America to this year’s festival.”

The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival is regarded as the world’s best, achieving international acclaim for the programming, organisation and inclusive atmosphere.

Established in 2003 by crime author Val McDermid, agent Jane Gregory and arts charity Harrogate International Festivals and supported by Theakston’s from the start, 2018 marks the 16th Festival, held at Agatha Christie’s haunt The Old Swan Hotel.