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Crime Wave Heads to Harrogate

It’s one of the biggest celebrations of the crime genre in the world. The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival begins on Thursday 20 July featuring a veritable Who’s Who of crime authors. The Festival runs until Sunday at the Old Swan Hotel.

Special Guests this year  include Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Ian Rankin, Peter May, Stuart MacBride, Joseph Finder, Arne Dahl, Kathy Reichs, Brenda Blethyn, Robson Green and James Runcie. There’ll also be a special one-off event with comedian Sarah Millican with authors Mark Billingham, Lee Child and Val McDermid.

Organisers, Harrogate International Festivals, say the crime wave has taken over the town, with around 30% occupancy in affiliated hotels, including 100% occupancy at the Festival venue, the Old Swan Hotel.

Hotels bracing themselves for the crime spree include The Crown, Hotel du Vin and West Park.

Victoria Ibbertson, Literature Festivals Manager, said: “Over 1,200 bed nights have already been taken and we’re expecting to see at least another 15% increase in hotel bookings from the hotels not affiliated with the Festival. It is a major event for Harrogate, now in its 15th year. We are very proud of the fact it takes the Harrogate brand as a boutique book lover’s destination across the world. Most of the attendees are from London, across the UK and as far afield as the USA, Scandinavia and Australia. Last year there were over 12 million views of online press alone featuring our Festival, and we’re expecting similar impact for 2017.”

2017 saw a new media partnership with the Mail on Sunday for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival’s renowned Crime Novel of the Year Awards, which will be announced on Thursday evening (20 July) by broadcaster, Mark Lawson. The event will welcome major media outlets this year too, with filming from Apple Books and Sky, alongside a documentary on author Lee Child for the BBC.

Richard Spencer, CEO of Visit Harrogate, said: “The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival has built an astounding reputation. It’s an important event for the tourism economy – for hoteliers, restaurants and retailers – creating significant impact and revenue. What’s more, it cements Harrogate’s enviable position as a boutique festival destination, securing its rightful place on the literary map.”

By Angus McBean courtesy of the Agatha Christie Archive Trust

Audiences are invited to attend an exclusive exhibition on Agatha Christie. The exhibition opens Thursday 20 July, from 9am, and will be on view in the gardens of the Swan Hotel throughout the weekend.

Victoria added: “We’d love it for people to come along to the grounds of the Old Swan Hotel, even if they don’t have tickets to a panel event, this is a free exhibition that is a world-premiere and major coup for Harrogate. And who knows you’ll probably bump into a few famous authors along the way!”

The exhibition will explore connections between Christie’s writing, life and publishing career using rare photographs and documents from both the Agatha Christie and Collins archives in a visually led outdoor display. It is part of HarperCollins’ 200th anniversary, and will preview in Harrogate before being housed in a permanent exhibition in Christie’s former home, now owned by the National Trust in Devon.

Simon Theakston, Executive Director of T&R Theakstons and title sponsor, said: “2017 promises a remarkable Festival as we mark 30 years of Rebus with Ian Rankin, 20 years since Lee Child introduced us to Jack Reacher, and 15 years since Dennis Lehane released Shutter Island. I can think of no better place than our Festival – amongst readers, authors, and friends – to raise a glass of Theakston’s beer to these giants of the genre.”