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National Crime Reading Month: Making it Work for You

Writing.ie | Resources | Developing Your Craft


The UK based Crime Writers’ Association is launching National Crime Reading Month (NCRM) in June – a major initiative designed to celebrate the genre and get everyone reading.

Running in collaboration with UK national reading charity, The Reading Agency, bestselling authors have been appointed as regional ambassadors of NCRM across Ireland and the UK.

Ambassadors include authors Steve Cavanagh and Louise Phillips in Ireland, plus MW Craven, Elly Griffiths, Alis Hawkins, Anthony Horowitz, Vaseem Khan, Nadine Matheson, Ian Rankin, LJ Ross, Robin Stevens and Sarah Ward in the UK. In Ireland too, new Library Champions, crime writers Sharon Dempsey and Catherine Kirwan have been appointed to cover north and south and liaise with the library service.

NCRM will be an inclusive initiative celebrating diversity in the genre at every level, with events both in person and virtual to ensure accessibility. Whether it’s a bookshop panel discussion or an online workshop, there will be events for everyone.

The initiative is encouraging bookshops, libraries, museums, book-clubs and schools to get involved with their own events in the month-long celebration, under the #PickUpAPageTurner hashtag.

Which is where you come in!

It can be frustrating for writers seeing festivals revealing their programmes and not including you – National Crime Reading Month aims to involve everyone but it’s up to you to create the opportunity. Whether it’s asking your local library to do a display of crime titles (including yours), your local bookshop to do a window or table, or your library or bookshop to organise an event, National Crime Reading Month is the perfect opportunity for you to introduce yourself and get your book to more readers. Perhaps you’d like to organise an online event, or see if your local radio station would like to do a segment about what you read?

Interested organisers can download promotional tools including logos, posters and press release templates to help in their own planning for NCRM at www.crimereading.com. They can also upload all their events at the site for sharing across the CWA, Writing.ie etc social channels.

Consider joining the CWA to have your profile included on the www.crimereading.com site author list.

Spearheaded by CWA board member, the bestselling crime writer Sam Blake, NCRM will be launched at an event in Waterstones Piccadilly with Abir Mukherjee, Lisa Jewell, LJ Ross and Nadine Matheson; and in Dublin at Hodges Figgis, simultaneously with an event at Cork City Library – all at 6.30 on June 1. In Dublin Ireland’s CWA National Crime Reading Month Ambassador, Louise Phillips will be in conversation with 2 million bestselling author of the Lottie Parker series, Patricia Gibney, with readings from Fiona Sherlock, EV Kelly and Paul McNeive. In Cork National Crime Reading Month Library Champion Catherine Kirwan will be discussing the books that have influenced her with One Book One City author Tadgh Coakley.

Find booking links here:

London https://crimereading.com/event/national-crime-reading-month-launch-event

Dublin https://crimereading.com/event/dublin-launch-of-national-crime-reading-month

Cork https://crimereading.com/event/cork-ireland-launch-of-national-crime-reading-month

Sam Blake said: “This is a fantastic project that I hope will demonstrate the full breadth of the crime genre and bring new readers to discover books and authors they haven’t read before – crime isn’t just police procedurals but includes Young Adult, mystery and thrillers, as well as books that have become celebrated films and TV like Ian Fleming’s iconic Bond, or Tana French’s Dublin Murders. This will be an opportunity for even more people to #PickUpAPageTurner in June and try something new.”

Sam Blake is the founder of the Murder One International Crime Writing Festival running this year in Dun Laoghaire’s stunning LexIcon Library (7-10th October) and the award-winning writing resources website Writing.ie. Her latest Irish Times No 1 bestseller, Remember My Name, was released in January this year.

Maxim Jakubowski, Chair of the CWA, said: “National Crime Reading Month is one of the Crime Writers’ Association’s most ambitious initiatives and its growth this year is unprecedented. We want to encourage more people to read books in the crime genre, and mystery and thrillers are a popular gateway into reading. It’s a winning combination.”

Ambassador Ian Rankin said: “For me, crime fiction is the perfect package – sense of place, strong characters, moral debate and pacy storytelling. Nothing beats it.”

Republic of Ireland Ambassador, award winning author Louise Phillips explains: National Crime Reading Month is a fantastic idea, encouraging readers to delve into one of the most popular genres, crime fiction. I’m thrilled to be a CWA NCRM Ambassador, and I look forward to the many exciting events happening throughout June, including the Dublin Launch in Hodges Figgis on June 1st. I know this unique initiative will encourage even more people to explore the diversity and enjoyment of reading crime fiction.”

CWA Library Champion for Northern Ireland Sharon Dempsey is the author of The Midnight Killing, which is out now in Ireland and will be published in the UK in August 2022. She is undertaking a creative-critical PhD at Queen’s University, exploring class and gender in crime fiction and has written five novels and three non-fiction books. Sharon reveals: “I am thrilled to see the CWA encourage new readers and provide events for anyone with an interest in books. It’s certainly an exciting time to be a reader. I believe that crime fiction is the most interactive form of reading. The writer has significant part to play as they work alongside the characters trying to identify the killer. It’s a puzzle, a psychological deep dive and an intellectual inquiry all in one package. Plus, we have the opportunity to explore our fears from the comfort of our armchair, knowing and trusting that the writer will ensure justice in the end. As a genre it has proved to be popular for centuries and recent times are no exception.”

Catherine Kirwan, Library Champion for the Republic of Ireland, said “I’m delighted to support National Crime Reading Month as the Crime Writers’ Association South of Ireland Library Champion. Crime writers are crime readers first and foremost, and there’s nowhere better to nurture a love of reading than your local library. This June, I encourage everyone to #PickUpPageTurner and escape into the vivid and varied world of crime fiction. Trust me, you won’t regret it.”

Steve Cavanagh said, “Crime and thrillers have always been popular and this brilliant initiative by the CWA will further highlight some of the fantastic writers we have working in the UK and Ireland.”

Charity partner The Reading Agency’s Quick Reads programme aims to bring the pleasures and benefits of reading to everyone, including the one in three adults who do not regularly read for pleasure, and the one in six adults who find reading difficult. With new titles published each year, the Quick Reads programme regularly celebrates the role of crime writing as a genre for avid readers and to attract those new to reading for pleasure.

Anthony Horowitz, who has written over 40 books including the bestselling Alex Rider teen spy series, said in support of NCRM: “A gripping story, the highest stakes and the search for truth …. What better way to while away the hours?  National Crime Reading Month is a great idea. Really there should be twelve of them a year.”

One of the UK’s most prominent societies, the CWA was founded in 1953 by John Creasey. It works to support, promote and celebrate the crime writing genre, and runs the prestigious Dagger awards.

For more information go to www.crimereading.com and follow #PickUpAPageTurner @The_CWA

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