Crime heroes set to return for Harrogate International Festival

Bodyguard creator Jed Mercurio will be arriving in Harrogate this weekend.
Bodyguard creator Jed Mercurio will be arriving in Harrogate this weekend.

The arrival in Harrogate of a host of best-selling authors will once again see the town becoming the “crime” capital of the world.

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The writers – including Harlan Coben, Jeffery Deaver and James Patterson – are all appearing at this year’s Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, which begins today.

Staged by Harrogate International Festivals, more than 14,000 tickets have been sold for the four-day extravaganza, with lovers of the genre coming from as far as New Zealand and Australia to attend a series of talks, workshops, dinners and an opening night awards ceremony.

Scores of authors from around the world will be taking part in the festival - the seventeenth - which kicks off with a day-long writing workshop, “Creative Thursday”, and concludes with Bodyguard writer and Line of Duty creator, Jed Mercurio, in conversation with BBC Breakfast presenter Steph McGovern.

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On Sunday morning another big name will be joining the prestigious roll call when Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon will be interviewing her good friend and crime-writing luminary, Val McDermid. As ever, one of the highlights of the festival is the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, the crime writer’s equivalent of winning an Academy Award.

The ceremony will also see one author being presented with the Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award. Previous recipients include PD James, Ruth Rendell and John Grisham.

Helen Donkin, Harrogate International Festivals’ literary festivals manager, said: “Over the years the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival has become an international phenomenon, and is the largest event of its kind in the world. Such is its standing that it has no problems attracting the world’s biggest names in crime writing, authors whose books have not just sold in the millions, but hundreds of millions. With all but three of the sessions sold out, the Festival promises to be another killer event.”

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Further details of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival are available from the Harrogate International Festivals website, https://harrogateinternationalfestivals.com/

Hotels and B&Bs in the town are enjoying a boost thanks to the popularity of the Crime-Writing Festival this weekend.

Ali Standen, vice Chair of Accommodation Harrogate Guest House Association and owners of Acorn Lodge said: “The crime writing festival is great for all local businesses.

We have guests stay for the full three days, many returning each year. We also offer Writing Retreats with Life Coaching throughout the year with published author Maria Stephenson, as Harrogate is becoming well known for its writing culture.”