Special guests revealed for top crime writing festival in Yorkshire - Richard Osman leads list

Richard Osman will be at Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in HarrogateRichard Osman will be at Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate
Richard Osman will be at Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate
The special guests for Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, one of the the world’s largest and most prestigious celebration of crime fiction – has been unveiled.

Harrogate International Festivals, which organises the event, has also announced a new prize, the McDermid Debut Award in recognition of crime author Val McDermid, who co-founded the festival more than 20 years ago and champions ‘New Blood’.

Curated by bestselling and this year’s festival programming chair Ruth Ware, with the programming committee, the special guests include global bestsellers and fan favourites Chris Carter, Jane Casey, Elly Griffiths, Erin Kelly, Vaseem Khan, Dorothy Koomson, Shari Lapena, Abir Mukherjee, Liz Nugent and Richard Osman.

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Returning to Harrogate for its 21st year, the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival is a highlight of the crime fiction year, offering fans from around the world a unique opportunity to hear from the biggest stars of the genre, discover exciting new talent and enjoy a packed programme of panels, talks and inspiring creative workshops.

It is held, appropriately, at the Old Swan Hotel – where crime-writing queen Agatha Christie stayed when she ‘disappeared’ in 1926 and sparked a furore over the 11 days that she could not be traced.

Ware, who wrote The It Girl, One by One and The Turn of Key, said: “I’m so proud of the incredible roster of special guests appearing at this year's festival – together they showcase the strength, breadth and sheer excellence of the crime-writing landscape.

“Harrogate has always been a festival with readers at its very heart, and there really is something for everyone in this glorious celebration of our brilliant and bloody genre.”

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Submissions for the McDermid Debut Award for new writers close on Thursday March 21.

“Curating the New Blood panel over 20 years exposed me to an extraordinary range of crime fiction I might otherwise have missed. I’m hoping that this new award will do the same for the army of avid readers out there looking for new talent.”

The festival runs from Thursday July 18 to Sunday July 21.