In 2017, the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival went on tour with its ninth Big Read, hosting a free reading group event at Libraries across the North during June. The Big Read took place on Monday June 12 and ran until Friday June 16.
The 2017 Big Read focussed on Ian Rankin’s breakthrough Rebus novel, Black and Blue. The reading groups were led by award-winning author Mari Hannah, author of the Kate Daniels series. Readers were invited to delve into the world of Ian Rankin’s iconic detective in this celebratory year as Rankin marks 30 years of Inspector Rebus. Each reader was given a free copy of the novel!
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.”
This year’s Big Read covered over 500 miles and 11 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.
In the run up to the Big Read, 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 has been 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.”