The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival is on tour this summer with its ninth Big Read, hosting a free reading group event at Libraries across the North during June.

The 2017 Big Read is Ian Rankin’s breakthrough Rebus novel, Black and Blue. The reading group at 11am, will be led by award-winning author Mari Hannah author of the Kate Daniels series. Readers are being invited to delve into the world of Ian Rankin’s iconic detective in this celebratory year as Rankin marks 30 years of Inspector Rebus.  Free copies of the book are available in advance.

Mari Hannah said: “As reader-in-residence at Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival it’s my pleasure to tour the libraries of the north annually, to facilitate a discussion about crime fiction through the Big Read initiative. The idea is to reach out to communities, and bring people together by getting everyone to read the same novel simultaneously.”

Last year’s Big Read covered almost a thousand miles and 15 libraries.

Ian Rankin’s bestsellers have been translated into 36 languages worldwide. He has received the OBE for services to literature, and in 2016 Ian was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Mari said: “Rankin is one of my all-time personal favourites who inspired my own writing. If you’re a fan or If you’re new to crime fiction, this is your chance to climb aboard the (Re)bus and chat about Ian’s wonderful characters and the intriguing worlds they inhabit. I can’t wait to welcome everyone!”

Ian Rankin said Black and Blue was ‘bittersweet’: “My son Kit was being diagnosed with severe special needs at the time, and I was asking big questions – why me, why us, what does this mean for us – but because I’m a novelist I was able to channel that into that book and it made it a big angry, questioning book. That’s partly the reason why it was such a success.

“Black and Blue was the first book I was happy with. All the books before it had been an apprenticeship, to learn about the genre and what you can and can’t do with it – and become more confident about Rebus as a character. So by the time I got to Black and Blue, all of that came into play and the frustration and questions about Kit’s condition just added that extra bit.”

Gemma Rowland, Operations Manager at Harrogate International Festivals, said: “At the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival we’re delighted to acknowledge the massive contribution Ian has made to the genre by celebrating his phenomenal success in his anniversary year. Thanks to the generous support of publisher Orion, the Festival is able to distribute 1500 copies of Black and Blue to local reading groups through our partner library services across Yorkshire, Middlesbrough and Tyneside for free.”

Rankin will also be a Special Guest at the 2017 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, which runs 20-23 July, hosted at the Old Swan Hotel. He’ll be joining other icons of the genre, including Lee Child, Dennis Lehane and Kathy Reichs.

The Big Read begins on Monday June 12 and runs until Friday June 16.  There’s also an opportunity to join Mari Hannah at the Festival itself in Harrogate at the Old Swan Hotel, where she’ll deliver a free Readers’ Book Group exploring Black and Blue on Friday 21 July at 1pm.

Tickets are free but please book your place at harrogateinternationalfestivals.com or call BOX OFFICE: 01423 562 303. For the full schedule of events visit and to request a free copy of Black and Blue visit: http://harrogateinternationalfestivals.com/big-read/

Follow #BigRead2017 hashtag for news or Mari Hannah @MariWriter