Two more big names added to Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate this summer - find out who and how to get tickets

Author of The Dry and Force of Nature Jane HarperAuthor of The Dry and Force of Nature Jane Harper
Author of The Dry and Force of Nature Jane Harper
Two more big names have been added to the line-up of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival which already includes James Patterson and Jo Nesbo.

Australian author Jane Harper - who wrote bestsellers The Dry and Force of Nature and whose The Lost Man is out in hardback - and spy thriller writer Mick Herron were revealed at an exclusive launch party at Browns Courtrooms in London yesterday.

Herron's most famous character is London-based Jackson Lamb, the boss of washed-up spooks who are based in a building called Slough House - nicknamed Slow Horses, the name of the first of Herron's series featuring Lamb and his team.

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Chairman of this year’s programming committee, Mari Hannah, revealed a packed line-up for the world’s most celebrated crime writing festival, with authors ‘in conversation’, in action and in the bar.

Now in its 17th year, the festival takes place at Agatha Christie’s old haunt, The Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate from July 18 to 21.

Already announced was James Patterson, Jeffrey Deaver, Jo Nesbo Nicola Sturgeon and Ian Rankin.

Other names revealed last night were Scotland’s supernova Denise Mina, and Alex North, the pseudonym behind The Whisper Man pitched as this year’s biggest thriller.


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Mari Hannah, award-winning author and festival reader-in-residence said: “The Theakston programming committee has a reputation for attracting the finest crime writers to the festival from around the world and we’ve done it again. The response to this year’s line-up has been incredible. I’m looking forward to welcoming readers in July.”

Special guests also include MC Beaton, Stuart MacBride, Belinda Bauer, Eva Dolan, Erin Kelly, Harlan Coben, Ian Rankin and Val McDermid, who will be in conversation with Scotland’s First Minister and bookworm Nicola Sturgeon.

Jo Nesbo will also launch his new Harry Hole thriller Knife at the festival. A special TV panel will feature Jed Mercurio, author of BBC smash-hit, The Bodyguard.

Simon Theakston, executive director of T&R Theakston and title sponsor, said: “Our celebration of the genre is no doubt the best in the world. 2019 is another remarkable line-up and it is a huge privilege to welcome one of the world’s biggest selling authors, James Patterson, a remarkable advocate for reading who has donated millions to reading initiatives in schools, colleges and libraries.”

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Serving up its usual helping of heated debate, panels will look at Irish fiction exploring borders and Brexit, the rise of Antipodean Noir, the on-going controversy of the role of gratuitous violence, and how crime fiction can put the spotlight on the big social issues of the day.

Up to 90 authors from around the world will take part. The line-up also includes Renee Knight, Stuart Neville, Stella Duffy, Brian McGilloway, Steve Cavanagh, Mark Billingham, Chris Brookmyre, AA Dhand, Joseph Knox, Robert Crais, Elly Griffiths, Sarah Hilary, Imran Mahmood, Martyn Waites and Jonathan Freedland aka Sam Bourne.

Val McDermid’s annual New Blood panel, one of the most anticipated events in publishing, features four hand-picked debuts from the ‘Queen of Crime’.

This year’s picks are Gytha Lodge’s She Lies in Wait, Holly Watt’s with To the Lions, Chris Hammer’s Scrublands, and Oyinkan Braithwaite’s My Sister the Serial Killer.


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The opening night features the crime writing equivalent of the Oscars, with the 15th Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award.

Hosted by Mark Lawson, the Award is in association with sponsor T&R Theakston Ltd, retail partner WH Smith, and media partner, the Mail on Sunday. The ceremony will also honour a giant of the genre with the Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award – previous recipients include PD James, Ruth Rendell, Lee Child and John Grisham.

The day-long writing workshop, Creative Thursday also returns. The festival, delivered by the north’s leading arts organisation Harrogate International Festivals, 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.

Famed for its no barriers approach, crime fiction fans, fledgling writers and established superstar authors mingle in the hotel bar, bookshop and Papakåta tents in the hotel grounds.

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The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival takes place at the Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, from Thursday July 18 to Sunday July 21.

Tickets for all events go on sale Tuesday April 9.

Box office: 01423 562 303 or

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