CrimeFest Bursary for Crime Fiction Author of Colour | Guest Bloggers | Crime Scene

Louise Phillips

CrimeFest, one of Europe’s leading crime writing conventions, is offering a bursary for a crime fiction writer of colour to attend its festival next May.

The bursary will cover the cost of a full Weekend Pass to the convention and a night’s accommodation at the Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel, and a guaranteed panel appearance.

Eligible authors must have published at least one English language book in traditional print by a British commercial publisher.

CrimeFest launched the bursary in 2021 with the first award going to Saima Mir to attend the 2022 convention, for her debut novel, The Khan, which was a Sunday Times Crime Novel of the Year.

Saima Mir, who grew up in Bradford, said that the bursary allowed her to, “be inspired by the company of seasoned storytellers, fulfil my childhood ambition, and to act as a beacon to other women who dare to dream of being published novelists, but fear the space is not for girls like them.”

2023’s bursary winner was Elizabeth Chakrabarty, whose critically-acclaimed debut crime novel Lessons in Love and Other Crimes was inspired by her own experience of a serious race hate crime in the workplace.

Donna Moore, co-host of CrimeFest, said: “The bursary is an important addition to CrimeFest, and one we are committed to build on. As a democratic convention open to all commercially published authors in the genre, CrimeFest is a natural hotbed for diverse talent. We’re aware however that more needs to be done to ensure festivals and conventions actively support writers of colour.”

Nominees for the bursary will be reviewed by Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) Chair and author Vaseem Khan, and the freelance crime fiction critic and CWA judge, Ayo Onatade.

Vaseem Khan is the author of two award-winning crime series set in India – the Baby Ganesh Agency series set in modern Mumbai, and the Malabar House crime novels set in 1950s Bombay. Ayo Onatade works with Justices at the Supreme Court, and is a well-known blogger and CWA Red Herring award-winning freelance crime fiction critic.

Hosted in Bristol, CrimeFest is one of the biggest crime fiction events in Europe, and one of the most popular dates in the international crime fiction calendar, with circa 60 panel events and 150 authors over four days.


CrimeFest, now in its 16th year, was created following the hugely successful one-off visit to Bristol in 2006 of the American Left Coast Crime convention. It was established in 2008. It follows the egalitarian format of most US conventions, making it open to all commercially published authors and readers alike.

Dates for next year’s Bristol CrimeFest are 9-12 May, 2024.

Email for more details on how to apply.

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