Every July is the annual Crime Writing Festival which takes place at The Swan in Harrogate and is sponsored by Theakston Old Peculier. Now in it’s 15th year, it celebrates the very best in crime fiction and this year was no exception. Running from 20th-23rd July, the event promises fascinating panels, the chance to meet your favourite authors, buy their books, stalk them and if you are lucky get a selfie.
I was very excited this year as it is my 3rd year attending this brilliant event and I was joined by lots of wonderful TBC members from all over the UK and we were on a mission to get as many selfies as possible, have a drink (or two) and eat lots.
Arriving on Thursday with Helen Boyce we descended on The Swan at 3.30pm and immediately started our stalking…
Friday 21st was an early start as we had tickets to see Lee Child’s panel at 9am which was fabulous and James Naughtie was a brilliant interviewer. With barely enough time for a coffee we then went to the Double Indemnity Panel featuring Steve Cavanagh, Alafair Burke, Martin Edwards, Denise Mina and Matthew Hall to ask “Why are lawyers, allegedly so good at murder?” My personal highlight was Steve’s naughty nun and robbing a bank with a dead seagull. Also I would just like to thank Steve for our tickets xx
Lunch was a very interesting cobb salad courtesy of Orion Books and Ben Willis and it was lovely to meet Dirk Kurbjuweit author of a wonderful chilling new book called Fear which is out in October. A special “Hi” to the lovely Joe Haddow of BBC Radio 2, Karen Robinson of The Sunday Times who were both fascinating lunch guests and I got some brilliant book recommendations.
Straight after lunch was the Orion Bloggers event featuring Mari Hannah, Steph Broadribb, Emma Kavanagh, Alison Belsham and Isobel Ashdown. A chance to get some books signed, meet the authors and check out the crime scene in the bathroom!
My 2 favourite podmen then took over Room 166 when Two Crime Writers and a Microphone turned the suite into a podcast playing two truths and a lie and asked AK Benedict (my new best friend), Julie Cohen, Mason Cross, Elle Croft and Isobel Ashdown to tell us two truths and a lie (the clue is in the title really!) and OMG it was very funny and surprisingly educational… I shall never look at a corpse’s feet, Sherlock Holmes or Taylor Swift the same way.
6pm was the Dead Good Reader Awards (although I kept calling it the Dead Reader Awards which apparently is a completely different event), and was absolutely delighted to see Cally Taylor, Hollie Overton and MJ Arlidge win awards and I met the wonderful Robert Bryndza and Jan and got a few photos.
Dinner was a quick and rather spicy meal with the lovely Liz Barnsley, her mate Kelly and Helen Boyce and then we raced back to see one of the FUNNIEST panels I have ever seen in my life – Mark Billingham, Lee Child, Val McDermid and the utterly hilarious Sarah Millican. I’ve learnt about bras, cars and how Jack Reacher at 6ft 4ins can climb out of a tiny bathroom window. A HUGE thanks to the lovely Mark Billingham for sorting out my ticket – although I nagged him so much he didn’t really have much choice.
Saturday was going to be a quieter one as most of us were hungover, tired, exhausted and in need of a lie down in a dark room, but that didn’t stop my stalking and it was so lovely to meet up once again with some of my favourite authors.
A big thanks to Sam Eades for taking me and Jo Robertson of MyChestnutReadingTree to lunch with her lovely authors – fabulous steak pie and mash, and a special shout out to my #northernposse for arranging for 16 of the TBC members to meet up and have dinner at Jamies.
Thank you to all the publishers, authors and friends who made this year’s Harrogate Crime Writing Festival my favourite one so far. I’ve already booked for 2018!