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Lee Child Takes Helm of Theakston Crime Writing Festival

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Article by Louise Phillips © 13 November 2017.
Posted in Guest Blogs ().

The biggest celebration of the crime genre in the world has announced one of the biggest crime writers in the world will take the helm of its 2018 Festival.

Lee Child, author of the global bestselling Jack Reacher series, is Programming Chair of the 2018 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, which takes place 19-22 July in Harrogate.

Established in 2003 by crime author Val McDermid, agent Jane Gregory and arts charity Harrogate International Festivals, 2018 marks the 16th Festival, held at Agatha Christie’s haunt, The Old Swan Hotel.

The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival is regarded as the world’s best, achieving international acclaim for the programming, organisation and inclusive atmosphere. Over the years, it has hosted iconic names such as PD James, Jo Nesbo and JK Rowling (as Robert Galbraith).

Lee Child said: “It’s a challenge to follow in the footsteps of authors such as Peter James, Val McDermid and Ann Cleeves as previous Programming Chairs, but I guarantee I’ll be bringing some very special names to 2018’s Festival.”

“Harrogate is by far my favourite on the circuit, so it is a real honour – and a delight – to be taking the helm. My grandma lived in Otley so Harrogate is a place that has fond memories for me, and the Festival has a real warmth and laid back atmosphere. It’s a chance for readers and writers alike to hang out in a beautiful part of England. I’m looking forward to welcoming new and old friends.”

2017’s event sold out with 16,500 tickets over the four day festival. It is routinely cited as one of the UK’s top literary festivals. As well as over 90 authors, it attracts stars of stage and screen. Past events featured comedians Eddie Izzard, Susan Calman and Rory Bremner, actors Brenda Blethyn, Jodie Whittaker and Robson Green, alongside media heavyweights James Naughtie, Mark Lawson, and Jeremy Vine.

Lee Child, who resides in New York, launched his new Reacher thriller, The Midnight Line, on November 7 in the UK. It sees his iconic 6ft 5 inch hero on a quest for justice in the wilds of Wyoming. His last book, Night School, was the UK’s biggest selling hardback novel of 2016.

With over 100 million books sold, it is said a Reacher novel is sold somewhere in the world every nine seconds. As well as being published in over one hundred territories, the novels have been adapted to two Hollywood films starring Tom Cruise.

Lee Child won the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award in 2011 and received the Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award in 2017, joining the pantheon of Colin Dexter, Ruth Rendell, PD James, Reginald Hill, Lynda La Plante, Sara Paretsky and Val McDermid, who have received the honour.

Title sponsor and executive director of T&R Theakston, Simon Theakston, said: “Lee Child is nothing short of a phenomenon, and as a regular Special Guest at our festival, it’s wonderful that he’s now our next Programming Chair. He is an inspiration to his fellow writers, but most importantly a hero to his millions of readers. No doubt, he will make 2018 a very special year indeed.”

Sharon Canavar, CEO of Harrogate International Festivals, said: “It’s hard to top the success of the festival year-on-year, but with Lee as Chair it really electrifies the programme. He is a huge advocator and supporter of the genre.”

2018 Special Guests will be announced in the coming months. harrogateinternationalfestivals.com 


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LOUISE PHILLIPS is the author of four bestselling psychological crime thrillers. Her debut novel RED RIBBONS, and her subsequent novels, THE DOLL’S HOUSE, LAST KISS and THE GAME CHANGER, were each nominated for Best Irish Crime Novel of the Year. She won the award in 2013. Louise’s work has formed part of many literary anthologies, and she has won both the Jonathan Swift Award and the Irish Writers’ Centre Lonely Voice platform, along with being shortlisted for the Molly Keane Memorial Award, Bridport UK, and many others. In 2015, she was awarded a writing residency at Cill Rialaig Artist retreat in Kerry and she was also a judge on the Irish panel for the EU Literary Award. Her current novel, THE GAME CHANGER, is available nationwide. In 2016, she was longlisted for the prestigious CWA Dagger in the Library Award, and her first novel, RED RIBBONS was published in the US. She was also awarded an Arts Bursary for Literature from the Arts Council of Ireland. In August, THE DOLL'S HOUSE, is due for publication in the US with Polis Books. Louise Phillips is the crime writing mastermind behind writing.ie's Crime Scene blog.

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