The biggest celebration of crime writing in the world is to tour libraries across the North of England this June with its annual Big Read.

Mari Hannah, author, Programming Chair, and Reader in Residence at the 2019 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, will hit the road to host the North’s biggest book club. She’ll be discussing thriller The Black Echo by Michael Connelly.

The Big Read, supported by The Arts Council, aims to encourage crime fiction fans, and entice reluctant readers, to read and discuss the same book. It offers opportunities for social meet-ups, making new friends and meeting like minds. 2019 will be the 11th Big Read.

Mari Hannah said: “American thriller writer Michael Connelly’s The Black Echo (1992) is an assured debut that blew me away when I read it. LAPD detective Harry Bosch is such a believable character. In this book, he’s called out to a crime scene – a drainpipe at the Mulholland Dam. Bosch recognises the victim as his former friend and fellow ‘tunnel rat’ from his Vietnam days, a man he believes he let down. It’s this that drives him on to seek justice for the victim. The Black Echo got me into reading crime fiction. Connelly remains my all-time favourite. He never fails to deliver and I can’t wait to share the story on the Big Read 2019.”

Thanks to his publisher, Orion, 1,500 free copies of the book are available and can be collected at any participating library or the Harrogate International Festival Office from April onwards.

After The Black Echo, Connelly went on to sell 74 million books worldwide, with film adaptations including The Lincoln Lawyer starring Matthew McConaughey. Michael Connelly is also executive producer of the Amazon Prime drama Bosch, based on his bestselling Harry Bosch novels.

Michael Connelly said: “This is very exciting news. The authors who have previously had this distinction are my favourites and the fact that people will be reading a book I wrote 30 years ago while never knowing if it would be published or that I would become an author is incredibly fulfilling.”

The Big Read will take place in libraries across Yorkshire and the North East from June 3-14 and is completely free of charge.

Beth Walker, Marketing & Events Assistant at Harrogate International Festivals, said: “We would like to invite as many people as possible into these libraries for the 11th Big Read. You need no previous book group experience to take part in the Big Read – avid or new reader, everyone is welcome. We’re passionate about promoting reading and sharing the importance of libraries within communities. The benefits of reading stretch through a person’s life. Research shows that reading for pleasure can result in increased empathy, improved sleep levels, improved relationships with others, reductions in the symptoms of depression and dementia, alongside a general improvement in wellbeing. We hope to see you there!”

Mari Hannah is the award-winning author of the Kate Daniels series which is in development for TV with Sprout Pictures. She is also the author of the Ryan & O’Neil thrillers, and the Stone & Oliver series of police procedurals.

Mari takes the helm of Programming Chair from Lee Child for Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival 2019, hosted in Harrogate in July. The line-up includes giants of the genre James Patterson, Jo Nesbo, Val McDermid, Ian Rankin and Harlan Coben.

Join the conversation online at #BigRead2019.

The Big Read: Tour Schedule

Blaydon Library                                             Mon 3 June | 6pm

Ashington Library                                          Tues 4 June | 4pm

Northallerton Library                                   Weds 5 June | 11am

Ripon Library                                                  Weds 5 June | 3pm

Sheffield Library                                            Fri 7 June | 10am

Rotherham, Riverside Library                    Fri 7 June | 1pm

Batley Library                                                 Sat 8 June | 2pm

Wakefield Library                                          Mon 10 June | 11am

Barnsley (Dodworth) Library                      Weds 12 June | 6pm

Acklam Library                                               Fri 14 June | 10am

Hartlepool Library                                         Fri 14 June | 2pm

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