Every year on the third week of July thousands of crime writers, bloggers, readers and people in the publishing industry make their way up (or down) to beautiful Harrogate for the annual Theakston Crime Festival held at the wonderful The Old Swan hotel to meet, drink, socialise and talk about books.
If you haven’t been before and you are a lover of crime fiction then seriously I can’t recommend this festival ENOUGH. It runs from Thursday to Sunday and is, in my opinion, absolutely brilliant. Everyone is super friendly and approachable and the overall feeling is so welcoming and happy.
This year’s was my fourth visit, the first year I spent silently stalking and wandering around in touching distance of some of my favourite authors, the second year was spent actually chatting and taking photos of said authors, by year three it was like we were old friends meeting up and this year was by far my favourite year.
Arriving on the Thursday afternoon with my fellow blogger Liz Barnsley of Liz Loves Books after travelling up from London on a train with the wonderful Louise Voss author of The Old You (read my 5 star review here) and then switching trains and joining Cally Taylor, Mark Edwards and Howard Linskey, it was so exciting walking up the hill and seeing THE OLD SWAN and the wonderful white tents full of authors and readers.
I’ve got too many highlights to mention and met so many wonderful authors, bloggers and readers, but here are a few that I want to share with you.
I am a HUGE fan of Gregg Hurwitz and super stalked him relentlessly, wanted to make an impression obviously, so popped to the toilet to freshen up my make up and spend a penny and guess who dropped their phone down the toilet? Yup…! The next thing I know my arm is down the U Bend up to my elbow and I’m frantically trying to fish out my phone. Phone saved, dried and appears to be working, I rushed out to find Gregg and asked for a selfie. He was a complete gentleman until I mentioned I had just had my hand in the loo – but was happy to pose with me as long as I didn’t touch him. (I am now affectionately known as U BEND Fenton).
I was lucky enough to join some proper book influencers and powerhouses for a private lunch with the exceptionally talented debut author Alex Michaelides to discuss his new book The Silent Patient – which is absolutely AMAZING (see my review here)
Friday afternoon was my first official panel that Orion Crime foolishly or bravely asked me to moderate in their Incident Room (Room 166) with 4 amazing debut authors Niki Mackay (see my review here), Clare Empsom (see my review here), Elle Croft (see my review here) and Emma Rowley (see my review here).
I’m pretty sure it went OK as no-one walked out or heckled us and the 4 wonderful authors seemed relaxed and happy despite me putting them on the spot and asking them to read from their books, which by the way are all available to buy NOW.
One of my personal highlights (or lowlights) of the event was trying to join Jack Jordan (super tall author 6ft 4″) on the famous green chair – I think the photos below (taken by Ellen Devonport) speak for themselves.
Another one of my personal highlights was our THE Book Club (TBC) dinner (tea) with some of the wonderful members and a huge shout out to Gail Shaw for organising it.
Actually there are too many highlights to mention and I think if I keep going on this could actually turn into a full novel, and I’m concerned I will accidentally forget to mention someone I’m just going to pop a few more highlights as bullet points, post my photos and then sleep for a week.
- Meeting Martina Cole
- Sitting at the same table as Lee Child
- Meeting Dorothy Koomson
- Getting a selfie with Richard Osman
- Getting a signed book from Linwood Barclay
- Spending 3 days with other book loving addicts.
- Finding out a very well known blogger takes her cat’s valium when flying abroad and I actually witnessed an author trying to bribe her for a review with cigarettes (you know who you are.. your secret is safe with me for now!)
THANK YOU THEAKSTON CRIME FESTIVAL FOR THE BEST WEEKEND EVER.
Acknowledgements: I know I will forget someone so please forgive me, but I want to give a special shout out to these wonderful people who made my weekend that extra special: Rod Reynolds, James Hazel, Liz Barnsley, Claire Mawdesley, Helen Boyce, Jen Lucas, Joanne Robertson, Kate Maloney, Jack Jordan, John Marrs, Ellen Devonport, Abbie Osbourne, Ellie Pollard, Sharon Bairden, Will Dean, Donna Young, Donna Moran, Gail Shaw, Frances Pearson, Louise Voss, John Russell, Samantha Eades, Ben Willis, Francesca Pathak, Niki Mckay, Linwood Barclay, Emma Welton, Vicki Goldman, Lisa Hall, Cecilly Conlin, Imran Mahmood, Louise Beech, Steve Cavanagh, Luca Veste, Dorothy Koomsom, Sumaira Wilson, Jen’s sister Mandy, Noelle Holten (I owe you a drink), Michele Young, Jenny Blackhurst (keeping me warm), Elizabeth Haynes and the thousands of other wonderful people there.