World Book day is coming…

World Book Day is a celebration! It’s a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and (most importantly) it’s a celebration of reading. In fact, it’s the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO and marked in over 100 countries all over the world.

This year’s Festival Programming Chair, Ann Cleeves, started working with the festival in 2003 as the Festival’s Reader-in-Residence. So who better to focus on for World Book Day 2015?

To celebrate the return of Vera on ITV this spring, here are our five favourite things about Ann Cleeves’s unconventional detective Vera Stanhope.

  1. She is unglamorous, a rarity compared to the glossy telly detectives such as The Fall’s Stella Gibson. Forget designer silk shirts and leather trousers, Vera is much more likely to be found wearing her trusty oversized raincoat with pockets filled with tissues.
  2. Her quick wit. Vera’s black humour in the incident room provides light relief in both the novels and the TV series.
  3. A fondness for fish and chips. Whilst most detectives are rarely seen without a cup of strong black coffee, our Vera has a hearty appetite. Can we have one of your chips Vera?
  4. Vera is supremely intuitive – we love watching her deftly unpick complex mysteries, whilst being intensely sympathetic to the victims of crime.
  5. Brenda Blethyn wants to be her friend. In a recent interview she said: “I love Vera. I’d like to have her as a mate. I’d love to go and visit her at home. What would we do? I’d ask her where the whisky was and we’d go for a long walk together along the shore.”

If you haven’t read a Vera Stanhope novel, start with The Crow Trap.