So… the dust has settled and the ale has run dry on the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival 2010. The Killer Reads team made the arduous journey up the east-coast mainline and into the waiting arms of the beautiful spa-town of Harrogate. Whether the festival is on or not, I’d recommend you go visit this pretty and relaxing town any time of the year.
We went up to ‘God’s own county’ this last weekend from the 22nd – 25th July. Unfortunately, He didn’t attend as He generally prefers non-fiction and celebrity cook-books, but He does like a good ‘whodunit’. He also correctly guesses who the killer is every time, often before He’s even bought or read the book.
Anyway – even without Him, there was a wealth of talent on offer including Ian Rankin, Reginald Hill, Mark Billingham, Val McDermid, S.J. Parris, Karin Slaughter, Jeffery Deaver, Simon Kernick, James Twining, Peter James and our very own Stuart MacBride presiding over events.
Highlights? Well, of course the festival got off to a great start with Reginald Hill receiving a richly deserved Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award. Radio Four’s Mark Lawson (who is surprisingly tall) did the honours. Many congratulations to Reginald once more – and of course, to R.J. Ellory who won the Crime Novel of the Year.
There was a fascinating talk about the uses of the past and future in crime writing, with authors from both ends of the space-time continuum. S.J. Parris, Richard Morgan, R.S. Downie and Paul Johnston all got involved in a very interesting debate about their own writing and how they’ve been influenced by other prominent authors in their field.
And as if having a brand of tea named after you wasn’t enough, James Twining also sported union jack trousers, and allegedly boxers, to prove he was the ultimate English Gentleman. He weighed in on a conversation about the incredible literary heritage of this green and pleasant land in ‘Britannia Rules the Page’. If you are wondering what this might have looked like, please see this artist’s impression.
Finally, a big thank you to everyone to came to the event celebrating 120 years of Agatha Christie, which was a sell-out hit! Of course, almost all crime/thriller readers grew up with her over many generations and the love of her work and the enthusiasm of her fans is what keeps her so fondly remembered that she is only outsold by the Bible and the Bard himself!
Thanks to everyone who came and made the festival such a success – and to the organizers and the journalists and bloggers working so hard to cover it!
See you next year!
The Killer Reads Team x