Festival of crime writing under way

THE world’s most blood-thirsty minds are gathering in Harrogate this weekend for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.

Held this year at the Old Swan Hotel, it is the largest crime writing festival in Europe and features some of the biggest names in crime fiction, including MC Beaton, who celebrates her 75th birthday with a special dinner at the festival tomorrow night.

The event began last night with an opening party hosted by Mark Lawson, which saw PD James given the Theakstons Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction award. The night also saw the presentation of the award for crime novel of the year, with a shortlist of six authors vying for the prize.

Events continue throughout the weekend, with sessions led by authors including Martina Cole, NJ Cooper, Linwood Barclay, Lee Child, Dennis Lehane and former real-life criminal-turned-author Howard Marks.

For more information and last-minute tickets, visit www.harrogate-festival.org.uk/crime.

Meanwhile, the winner and runner-up have been announced in our crime writing competition, with a top prize of a weekend rover pass for the festival. To find out who it is, and read the top entries, turn to Page 17.

For more on Harrogate International Festival, including reviews of this week’s events, turn to Pages 18 and 30.