By Ann Evans. Twitter:


Stars of murder, mayhem and mystery will be heading directly to Harrogate for the 2018 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. With her author’s hat on Ann Evans will be on the scene too.   



Lee Child chairing the Crime Writing Festival

A dazzling host of crime writing stars are lined up to take part in the world’s biggest celebration of the crime writing genre. Lee Child author of the global bestselling Jack Reacher series will be chairing the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival which takes place 19-22 July at Agatha Christie’s old haunt, The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate.

Lee Child said: “I’ve been to all the festivals in the world and Harrogate is by far my favourite, so it’s a joy to be 2018’s chair. For authors, it’s a chance to hang out and socialise in beautiful Harrogate, and more crucially we get to meet the most important people – our readers. Crime writers deal with some of the biggest issues of our times, so I promise our incredible line-up will inspire thought and debate. I love it because this festival also has such warmth and camaraderie – it’s the most fun book event out there.”



John Grisham Photo by Billy Hunt


Blockbuster author, John Grisham, will be one of the headline authors, and he’ll be interviewed on stage by Lee Child. Dubbed ‘America’s favourite storyteller’ Grisham is synonymous with the modern legal thriller. The lawyer-turned-author has had nine of his books adapted to film, including The Firm with Tom Cruise, The Pelican Brief starring Julia Roberts, and A Time to Kill featuring Samuel L. Jackson and Matthew McConaughey. His latest novel, The Rooster Bar, became a number one New York Times bestseller when it was released last October. It will be published in paperback in July 2018 to coincide with Grisham’s visit to Harrogate.

John Grisham said: “About twenty years ago I attended a Chelsea football match with my close friend and editor, Oliver Johnson.  Afterwards, we retired to a pub and I had my first pint of Theakston Old Peculier.  Others followed.  It’s my favourite beer in the world.  Then Lee Child invited me over for the crime festival, and when I discovered it was sponsored by Theakston, I knew I had to say yes!  I’ve never been to Harrogate or even to Yorkshire and I’m really looking forward to the festival.”

Other American authors include Don Winslow, who has sold over 100 million books worldwide and Laura Lippman, a former journalist on the Baltimore Sun turned New York Times bestselling author, considered one of the most acclaimed novelists in America.



Husband and wife writing team known as Nicci French

Special Guests also include Linwood Barclay, Denise Mina, Sophie Hannah, Nicci French, and Festival co-founder Val McDermid, who will be in conversation with Professor Dame Sue Black, director of the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification at Dundee University. McDermid’s annual New Blood panel, one of the most anticipated events in publishing, will showcase four hand-picked debuts from the Queen of Crime: authors Stuart Turton, Dervla McTiernan, CJ Tudor and Will Dean.

Simon Theakston, Executive Director of T&R Theakstons and title sponsor, said: “The crime genre dominates more than ever. There’s huge thirst for the genre’s moral framework where usually, justice prevails, proven by the fact our chair this year, Lee Child, is a hero to millions of readers. I’m delighted, as 2018’s festival looks even bigger and better than ever, our celebration of the genre is no doubt the best in the world.”

The Festival opens with a day-long writing workshop, Creative Thursday, followed by the crime writing equivalent of The Oscars, the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award.

The festival is famed for its no barriers approach, fans, fledgling writers and established superstar authors mingle in the hotel bar. It is one of the most important events in the crime publishing calendar. Agents, publishers, publicists, readers and authors attend from all over Europe and the world.


Tickets Box office: 01423 562303