The best-selling writer behind the Inspector Rebus books has been unmasked as the programming chair for next year’s Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. As a result, Ian Rankin – who has sold more than 20 million books and was awarded an OBE in 2002 for services to literature – has been charged with pulling together a “most wanted” list of guest authors and speakers to headline next year’s four-day event.
Since its launch in 2003, the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival has become recognised as one of the biggest – and most important – celebrations of crime writing in the world. This year’s festival, which boasted a killer line up of more than 100 authors including Harlan Coben, Jeffery Deaver and Jo Nesbo, saw Northern Irish author Steve Cavanagh winning the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award for 2019, for his book Thirteen.
A special presentation was also made to American literary giant James Patterson – who became the winner of the tenth Theakston Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award. Produced and delivered by Harrogate International Festivals, the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival 2020 is being held between July 23 and 26 at Harrogate’s Old Swan Hotel, the venue synonymous with the 1926 disappearance of crime writing supremo, Agatha Christie.
Ian Rankin, who has written 22 novels featuring Edinburgh detective John Rebus, and takes over the reins from Mari Hannah, said: “It is an honour for me to be invited to become the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival 2020 programming chair. “Over the years this festival has grown in both size and stature, and, as such, attracts authors and visitors from all over the world. Being my debut in the role, I already have plenty of ideas for next year’s festival and will be drawing on the experience of the Harrogate International Festivals team to assist me in achieving my task.”
Helen Donkin, Harrogate International Festivals Literature Festival Manager, said: “Ian has been one of the crime writing festival’s greatest supporters and we are delighted that he has agreed to become the 2020 Programming Chair. The Programme Chair, which changes each year, is responsible for the various themes the discussion panels debate, as well as which authors sit on them. And by having a different chair each year this helps keep the festival fresh and exciting. Ian is a very familiar face at Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. It’s always a pleasure having him with us over the four days and we are looking forward to working with him over the coming months to ensure the 2020 event becomes an instant best-seller.”