The biggest celebration of the crime genre in the world has announced blockbuster author, John Grisham, will be one of its headline authors this July.

John Grisham will be interviewed on stage by Lee Child, author of the bestselling Jack Reacher series. Child is Programming Chair of the 2018 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, which takes place 19-22 July in Harrogate.

Established in 2003 by crime author Val McDermid, agent Jane Gregory and arts charity Harrogate International Festivals and supported by Theakston’s from the start, 2018 marks the 16th Festival, held at Agatha Christie’s haunt, The Old Swan Hotel.

Dubbed ‘America’s favourite storyteller’ Grisham is synonymous with the modern legal thriller. The lawyer-turned-author has had nine of his books adapted to film, including The Firm with Tom Cruise, The Pelican Brief starring Julia Roberts, and A Time to Kill featuring Samuel L. Jackson and Matthew McConaughey. His latest novel, The Rooster Bar, became a number one New York Times bestseller when it was released last October. It will be published in paperback in July 2018 to coincide with Grisham’s visit to Harrogate.

John Grisham said: “About twenty years ago I attended a Chelsea football match with my close friend and editor, Oliver Johnson.  Afterwards, we retired to a pub and I had my first pint of Theakston Old Peculier.  Others followed.  It’s my favourite beer in the world.  Then Lee Child invited me over for the crime festival, and when I discovered it was sponsored by Theakston, I knew I had to say yes!  I’ve never been to Harrogate or even to Yorkshire and I’m really looking forward to the festival.”

Grisham will join fellow American author Don Winslow already announced as a Special Guest, with the full programme to be announced in April.

Lee Child said: “As I live in New York, I’m bringing some very special American friends over and John Grisham and Don Winslow are two of the biggest authors out there. I’m really delighted they’ll be hanging out in Harrogate. Alongside the blockbuster heavyweights, festival-goers can expect a really diverse mix of authors and panel events. It’s fun to add my stamp as Chair and bring some different names to Harrogate for the first time.”

There are over 300 million John Grisham books in print worldwide. Child and Winslow have both sold well over 100 million books.

Title sponsor and executive director of T&R Theakston, Simon Theakston, said: “Over the years the festival has hosted iconic names from PD James to JK Rowling. 2018 has to be the first year we’ve had three American crime writing titans of this scale in our line-up. It’s a testament to the programming committee, chaired by the legendary Lee Child, and Harrogate International Festivals that 2018 will be one of the most hotly anticipated events in the literary calendar. I’m delighted that John’s appreciation of Old Peculier was a positive factor in persuading him to come from America to this year’s festival.”

The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival is regarded as the world’s best, achieving international acclaim for the programming, organisation and inclusive atmosphere.

For announcements around Special Guests at the 2018 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival sign up to our mailing list and follow @TheakstonsCrime.