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The Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, now in its 13th year, is a firm date in the literary calendar and has achieved international acclaim for the programming, organisation and atmosphere. It is ranked as one of the top three literary festivals in the UK by The Guardian, and featured in The Independent’s ‘The 50 Best Festivals’.

Throughout the years the Festival has welcomed a host of international names to Harrogate, including Harlan Coben, Michael Connelly, Patricia Cornwell, Jeffrey Deaver, Dennis Lehane, Jeff Lindsay, Jo Nesbo, George Pelecanos, Karin Slaughter and J.K Rowling, writing as Robert Galbraith, to name but a few!

In 2014; we sold over 13,500 tickets; we programmed over 90 authors and staged over 30 events.

Crime Tile

Everyone who comes to the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival is a reader. The Festival proves that reading is creative, inspiring and wonderfully social. Throughout the weekend we’ll be sharing our passion for the best crime writing around. There’ll be intense debate during the panels and special guest conversations, arguments late into the night in the bar and fascinating discussions at a new innovation for 2015: our Thursday afternoon Readers’ Tea.

This year we focus on crime fiction’s ability to take us to strange lands and to see familiar places in a new and unsettling way. From our comfortable base in North Yorkshire we’ll be travelling the globe. Come and join us for the trip of a lifetime!

Ann Cleeves, 2015 Festival Programming Chair

A hearty ‘hello’ to returning friends, and a warm welcome to new friends to be… The 2015 Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, is once more, a murderously good line-up.

Each year, I wonder how this unique celebration of the crime genre can throw up a new plot twist or bigger revelation than the previous year’s killer line-up. It’s a bit like the expectations we had around Broadchurch 2. Can it really get better?

One woman who truly knows how to sustain a crime series as the author behind ITV’s sensational Vera, and BBC’s brooding Shetland, is this years Programming Chair, Ann Cleeves. It’s a huge honour and delight for us all to have Ann at the helm. Not only because of her talent and passion for the genre, but because of her strong connection with our Festivals, developing our ‘Big Read’ initiative as our original Reader-in-Residence.

It’s seems counter-intuitive that a festival celebrating a genre that revolves around murder is so famed for its sense of fun and friendliness, but it is most certainly true. That’s what makes Harrogate so special – no matter who you are – you’re connected by all the other partners in crime mingling in the grounds of the beautiful Old Swan Hotel, sharing a very genuine joy for writing and reading.

I hope you’ll agree, 2015 is a sensational programme destined to inspire. Enjoy the conversation, the laughter, and of course, the bar – with a pint of Theakstons in hand!


Simon Theakston, Executive Director, T&R Theakston