By Ann Evans


If you love crime fiction, this is one festival you won’t want to miss. Ann Evans reports on what’s happening in Harrogate in 2019.




One of my favourite events of the year is the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Harrogate. This 4-day festival is open to crime writers and crime readers alike. It’s four days of meeting and mingling with top crime writers, networking, socialising, and simply immersing yourself in the genre of crime writing.


Last year author Lee Child, famous for his Jack Reacher books hosted the Festival, and he was joined by some amazing authors for talks and panels. There was an Author Murder Mystery Dinner scripted and introduced by Lee Child and enacted by authors. There was even a night of music with Val McDermid and Mark Billingham heading the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers Band. Plus, it’s the perfect place to get signed copies of the latest releases.



Mari Hannah



In 2019 it will be the 17th Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival and headlining the event will be one of the best-known and biggest selling authors of all time, James Patterson. He has sold more than 375 million books worldwide and currently holds the Guinness World Record for the most #1 New York Times bestsellers. He has been the most-borrowed author of adult fiction in UK libraries, for the past 11 years in a row.


Award-winning author, Mari Hannah, will be taking over the mantle of Programming Chair from Lee Child. She said: “What some people may not know about James Patterson is how much he cares about reading, how much he gives back, donating books and offering financial support to independent bookshops, ensuring that his reading legacy lives on. As the festival’s Reader-in-Residence for the past three years, announcing James Patterson in my year as Programming Chair is a huge honour.”



Author Lee Child photographed for Random House at Ruby Bird studio NY.



A renowned advocate of reading, philanthropist Patterson has donated millions to reading initiatives, schools, colleges, independent bookstores and libraries. He is also founding partner with the Duchess of Cornwall of the Children’s Reading Fund (UK).


Mari added: “Crime fiction is a gateway into reading for many. As Reader-in-Residence, I toured libraries this summer with our annual Big Read. This year’s title was James Patterson’s Along Came a Spider and readers loved it. Harrogate has featured some colossal names when it comes to giants of the genre, from JK Rowling as Robert Galbraith to Lee Child and John Grisham. I’m thrilled that James Patterson will be joining us in 2019.”


James Patterson’s awards for adult and children’s literature include the Edgar Award, the International Thriller of the Year Award, and the Children’s Choice Award for Author of the Year.


Patterson said: “I’m really looking forward to coming to Harrogate next year and meeting my UK fans. I was thrilled that Along Came a Spider was chosen as the Big Read at last year’s festival and taken on the road by Mari Hannah to libraries across the North. I firmly believe that better readers become better thinkers, and libraries and book festivals play a key role in spreading the joy of reading.”



Welcome to the Old Swan


The 2019 festival takes place as always at The Old Swan Hotel – the place that Agatha Christi was found after mysteriously disappearing for 11 days in 1926. The festival will programme over 90 best-selling UK and international crime authors and over 30 events including the prestigious Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award.


It is delivered by the north of England’s leading arts festival organisation, Harrogate International Festivals and is renowned for being the friendliest literary festival as readers and writers relax and mingle around the bar and marquee areas throughout the four days.



The 2019 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival takes place at the Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate 18-21 July,