The 14th Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival was a resounding sell-out success, selling 14,000 individual tickets over the four-day festival. Next year’s dates have been announced as 20-23 July, 2017.
Featuring over 90 authors, the festival has established its position as the biggest celebration of the genre in the world.
Peter James, 2016’s Programming Chair, said: “It has been a very great honour and privilege to be Programming Chair of the 2016 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate. It has been a glorious event, one which has firmly demonstrated that this is the finest and biggest attended crime and thriller writing festival in the world – without peer.”
Sold out events included the annual Author Dinner, where readers joined authors including Peter James, Dreda Say Mitchell and Sarah Hilary, to apply their criminal minds, alongside their napkins, to crack a case.
In previous years, Harrogate has featured Eddie Izzard, Rory Bremner and Sarah Millican in conversation with a leading crime author, continuing the tradition, this year’s event with Val McDermid and comedian Susan Calman was also a sell-out.
Peter said: “Among the many highlights for me were my special guests, who included Linwood Barclay who came all the way from Canada, Jeffery Deaver, Tess Gerritsen, Martina Cole, Gerald Seymour, Val McDermid and Peter Robinson, but also there were so many great events, such as the brilliant tuition day of Creative Thursday, panels ranging from Val McDermid’s New Blood to forensic themes with guest speakers, including two former senior homicide detectives – my “real life” Roy Grace, David Gaylor, and the former Commander of Brighton and Hove Police, Graham Bartlett, as well as the pioneer of forensic podiatry, Haydn Kelly.”
Highlights also included the annual Late Night Quiz, compiled and hosted by Mark Billingham and Val McDermid. A team captained by literary agent, Jane Gregory, joined a list of illustrious past winners, including The Wire’s David Simon and broadcaster, Mark Lawson. Keeping the competitive spirit, authors took part in a North v. South football match, refereed by Mark Billingham.
As well as attracting national media attention in the Guardian, Daily Mail and BBC Radio 4, it was also claimed by Elle magazine as one of the top six literary festivals, and featured in Women’s Weekly and the Radio Times. The Radio Times is the official media partner for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Awards.
Former police officer, Clare Mackintosh won the 12th Crime Novel of the Year Award for her debut, I Let You Go. Val McDermid received the Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction accolade at a ceremony hosted by Mark Lawson.
The high profile, established awards were reported in the Guardian, Telegraph, Daily Mail, Bookseller, BBC Online, and the Press Association.
The event dominated social media reaching 8.2 million Twitter users, with 35.9 million impressions during the week of the festival. JK Rowling, who tweeted her congratulations to Clare Mackintosh and Val McDermid made 15.5m impressions alone on Twitter.
Accommodation packages for 2017 at the festival’s venue, the Old Swan Hotel, sold out within hours of release, despite not yet announcing next year’s star authors. Hotel and ticket packages at partnering hotels are still available.
Gemma Rowland, Operations Manager at Harrogate International Festivals, which delivers the event, said: “Not only does the festival have such a national, even international impact as an event, feedback shows how much audiences have a genuinely brilliant time. It’s known as one of the friendliest festivals, and that combination of fun, good organisation, and a huge author presence is unbeatable.”
Crime fiction is one of the biggest genres, dominating our bookshelves, TV and cinema screens.
Special Guests for 2017 will be announced in the coming weeks on Twitter @TheakstonsCrime.
Peter James added: “Everywhere you looked in the festival grounds through the four days you saw a glittering array of authors, editors, agents, as well as countless fans and lovely budding authors from not just the UK but around the globe. But what made it so magical for me, above all else, was that there were no “velvet ropes” cordoning off the stars into VIP areas. Everyone mingled, inside the festival hotel and out on the gloriously warm lawns. Fans, fledgling writers and established superstar authors drank together, sharing stories and laughter, way, way into the night every day. That was the real joy to me of this festival, the sharing of this genre of crime and thriller fiction that I love so much, with so many people.”
Harrogate International Festivals, which delivers the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, will also host a special one-off stand-alone event with crime author Michael Connelly this autumn.
The number one bestselling author of the Harry Bosch series will appear on the day of the publication date for his new novel, The Wrong Side of Goodbye, on Tuesday 18 October at 6.00pm at The Crown Hotel in Harrogate. The LA detective was adapted for the small screen with the Amazon TV series, Bosch. Click here to book.