Harrogate International Festivals: Working with Authors

We were disappointed to hear of some false and misleading information that has been circulating over the last few days.

We are all aware of how dangerous social media can be, especially in regards to #FakeNews and so want to respond to these false claims and to further clarify our approach to authors and programming:

  • Firstly, at no point have we announced or discussed that we are not making changes in our approach to programming our Special Guest authors. Despite what you may have read elsewhere.
  • The issue of exclusivity is centred around a paragraph that has drawn much discussion in recent days and is included in our initial approach and invitation to the Special Guest authors, through their publishers.
  • This is not a legal clause and has never formed part of a contract. As such, it is always open for discussion with authors and their representatives on a case by case basis and there are many examples of shared programming across many crime fiction events across the years.
  • Appearances on panels at other crime festivals / conventions in the UK, wider genre festivals or any appearances at libraries or bookshops are not part and have never been part of the conversation.
  • Our Programming Committee is a key part of Harrogate International Festivals, we are not two distinct and separate organisations or committees and all contracts and details are shared regularly with the members of this committee, we don’t act as two separate bodies.
  • We believe that diverse programming at the many Crime Festivals/ conventions in the UK creates opportunities for more authors to appear and opportunities for audiences to develop their reading choices and we consistently support this, through our work with other festivals, libraries and reading and literacy programmes.
  • As highlighted in our initial response to The Bookseller, this paragraph was introduced a few years ago, but as part of our annual review this was discussed on the 4th December at the Programming Committee meeting, with wider consultation set to take place with a number of stakeholders in January 2020.

There has been a prevalence of misinformation from many sources over the last few days and we would hope this clarifies any confusion.

Happy Christmas all, and look forward to updating you with our plans in 2020.

Harrogate International Festivals is proud to host the longest established crime fiction festival in Europe, with a unique annual programme that brings together crime fiction writers and readers from across the globe. We are dedicated to supporting writers and the wider publishing ecosystem, and are incredibly proud to work with so many fantastic authors and publishers.

While 95 per cent of authors who take part in the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Festival are not subject to an exclusivity option, for our Special Guests we make this request at invitation stage to ensure that our offering for both authors and visitors is protected, and this is something which is carefully discussed and considered on an individual basis in conjunction with each author. As a not-for-profit arts charity, rather than a convention or commercial venture, Harrogate International Festivals relies heavily on ticket sales to deliver our year-round literacy development programmes, and our curated offering therefore must be as distinctive as possible, ensuring authors and guests alike enjoy the best possible experience.

All festivals, events and conventions work differently and there are of course many different models. Harrogate’s policy is to offer authors fees and accommodation, and to support smaller publishers in taking part – something which some other events do not provide. We always welcome feedback on our festival offerings and continually work to review our practices in consultation with publishers, authors, and the wider industry, to ensure that our festival experience meets the expectations of all parties involved.