What is TOPCWF?
The Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival held in Harrogate is now Europe’s biggest crime writing event. The Festival is an annual four-day event which brings together the very best in crime fiction in a series of events, interviews, and panel sessions.
The Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year is also announced at the Festival, the only crime writing award in which the public are able to vote for their favourite long-listed contenders.
Who decides the Programme?
The Programming Committee is the creative force behind the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. Made up of a small group of industry specialists, it is charged with devising the programme of events for the Festival. In addition to the annual position of Chair, the Committee comprises a literary agent, a publisher, a reviewer, and the Festival Reader-In-Residence.
The current members of the Programming Committee are:
2013 Chair: Val McDermid, author
Agent: Jane Gregory, Gregory and Company
Publisher: David Shelley, Deputy Publisher, Little, Brown Book Group
Reviewer: N J Cooper, also an author
List of Programming Committee Chairs in Full:
2003 – 2005 Val McDermid
2006 Mark Billingham
2007 Natasha (NJ) Cooper
2008 Simon Kernick
2009 Laura Wilson
2010 Stuart MacBride
2011 Dreda Say Mitchell
2012 Mark Billingham
2013 Val McDermid
Val McDermid returns to the role of Chair in 2013 to celebrate a decade of Crime Writing Festivals in Harrogate.
How are participating authors selected?
Invitations to authors to participate in the Festival are issued by the Programming Chair on the basis of their individual creative vision for the programme. The rotating position of Chair ensures that the Festival programme remains fresh from year to year. Each Chair brings their unique personality and individual tastes to the programme.
Invited authors who agree to participate receive a nominal fee for their appearance as well as accommodation in Harrogate. Entirely at their own discretion, authors may waive their fee to support the Festival if they wish.
Unlike some crime conventions and conferences, slots on panels or for guest appearances at the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival are not paid for either by authors or publishers.
TOPCWF remains a Festival in the very truest sense of the word, celebrating the very best of the genre. The only criteria a Chair is expected to apply when shaping their Festival programme is to ensure the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival continues to deliver events of the highest possible quality.
Where does TOPCWF take place?
The Festival takes place each year in a hotel in the centre of the beautiful spa town of Harrogate. Crime fans, authors, publishers and agents rub shoulders at this popular event, often staying for the whole weekend.
How to book?
Ticket & accommodation packages can be booked by calling the Festival Office on +44 (0) 1423 562303. Individual tickets can be purchased from the Harrogate Box Office once on sale.
How do I find out more about the authors?
The Festival Event Guide featuring full details about the events running throughout the weekend is available from the Festival Office or you can keep up-to-date by signing up to our newsletter through the website www.harrogate-festival.org.uk/crime
The venue hotel is sold out. How do I find accommodation?
The Festival hotel is always booked out by the Festival office so call us on +44 (0) 1423 562303 to reserve your place. We provide a package deal combining both accommodation and tickets to the Festival, which can be purchased via the Festival Office.
In addition to the Old Swan Hotel, we offer a range of tailor-made ticket and accommodation packages to suit all budgets.
Tickets booked through the Festival Office and as part of a package will be available from the Festival Desk at the Festival Hotel from the first day of the Festival. Tickets booked through the central Box Office will be posted out upon request.
Getting to and around Harrogate
From the North: Follow the A1 to A61 to Ripon. Follow signs to Ripon, then follow signs for Harrogate.
Alternatively follow the A1/M come off at junction 47 and follow signs to Harrogate.
From the south and east: M1 to A1 to Wetherby, then exit to the A661 to Harrogate.
Alternatively follow the M1, go north at Leeds on the A1/M, continue onto junction 47 and follow signs to Harrogate.
From the west: M62 to A1 Wetherby, then exit to A661 Harrogate.
Harrogate station is located in the centre of the town with links to York and Leeds.
Leeds/Bradford is approximately 14 miles from Harrogate.