#FestivalFever strikes again! What could be better? So far we have announced Special Guests – Lee Child, Kathy Reichs, Ian Rankin and Peter May, but who will be next?

This Special Guest announcement follows on directly from our announcement of Peter May, as this is going to be an ‘In Conversation’ event. The person Peter May will be appearing with is a #1 Sunday Times bestselling author. Their biography begins in a more unique way than most.
It reads…

“The Author was born in Dumbarton, but ran away to join the circus at the age of nine, where he specialised in wrestling bears for money (Going on to represent Great Britain at the Atlanta Olympics). In 1975 he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his revolutionary work on Irn-Bru, then went on to create the world’s biggest ball of bellybutton lint. In 1989 he joined the secret intelligence service, but was later invalided out due to a back injury sustained while performing a reverse-overhead-piledriver on a grizzly bear. Now confined to his pyjamas, he fritters away his time writing crime novels set in Aberdeen and lying to journalists.”

This week we are pleased to announce 2017 Special Guest…

Stuart MacBride!

…Of course, none of the above is true other than the fact he was born in Dumbarton! The opening paragraph to Stuart’s biography is actually the version of events he told Trend Magazine – which they published!

In real life he was born in Dumbarton and moved up to Aberdeen at the age of just two. There followed a less than stellar academic career, starting out in Marchburn Primary School, where his “evil parents” forced him to join the cub scouts (specialising in tying unnecessary knots in things and wearing shorts). Stuart then went on to Middlefield Academy for some combat recorder practice.

Here followed an attempt to study architecture at Herriot Watt in Edinburgh, which he found to be “every bit as exciting and interesting as watching a badger decompose”. Giving up the life of an academic, Stuart decided to begin working offshore instead. This involved a lot of swearing as he recalls – swearing and drinking endless cups of tea. After his stint offshore, Stuart had a bash at being a graphic designer, a professional actor, an undertaker, a marketing company’s studio manager, a web designer, programmer, technical lead… Then last, but by all means least, finally circling the career drain by becoming a project manager for a huge IT company.

Whilst working here, he wrote a book about an Aberdonian detective sergeant and his dysfunctional colleagues: Cold Granite. HarperCollins bought it, and overnight Stuart went from “a grumpy project manager caterpillar to a writing butterfly”.

MacBride has since gone on to become the bestselling author of the Logan McRae and Ash Henderson novels and has also published a near-future thriller, a short story collection, a couple of novellas, and a slightly twisted picture book for slightly twisted children.

He was crowned World Stovies Champion in 2014 and was given an honorary doctorate by Dundee University in 2015. He tries not to let either of these things go to his head though.

Hotel Focus:
The Crown Hotel


With a history spanning over 300 years, the Crown Hotel Harrogate is experienced in looking after guests. After a multi-million pound refurbishment programme, the hotel has created a contemporary environment which complements its historic architecture and pays homage to its heritage as a great town centre property. Placed just a couple of minutes’ walk from the Harrogate International Centre, Turkish Baths, Betty’s Tea Rooms and the picturesque town centre with its antique stores, Victorian arcades and boutique shops, the Crown Hotel Harrogate is the perfect location for a weekend away.

2017 Weekend packages with 3 nights accommodation at The Crown Hotel and Weekend Rover Ticket start from £479 per person. Limited availability so contact our Festival Team on 01423 562303 or click here today to ensure you don’t miss out on this stunning Hotel!