12:00 AM 15th May 2024

Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival 2024 Looks To The Future

Ruth Ware and Simon Theakston
Photo: Mike Whorley Photography.©
Ruth Ware and Simon Theakston Photo: Mike Whorley Photography.©
Harrogate International Festivals has revealed the full programme for this year’s 21st Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, a celebration of crime fiction and thriller writing, at a special reception at Hachette in London last night.

The Festival, which takes place at Harrogate’s Old Swan Hotel from 18-21 July, has been curated by 2024’s Festival Chair, bestselling crime novelist Ruth Ware, and reflects a Festival looking firmly to the future while celebrating the rich heritage of the crime fiction world.

From cutting edge AI and technology’s impact on criminal investigation, to the complexities and capabilities of neurodivergent sleuths; from the shadowy world of spies and twisty whodunnits, to boundary-pushing psychological thrillers, there is plenty to surprise and thrill in this year’s programme.

Programme highlights include an all-star lineup of acclaimed writers and global bestsellers including Mick Herron, Louise Candlish, M.W. Craven, James Comey, Lucy Foley, Femi Kayode and Saima Mir joining Special Guest headliners Chris Carter, Jane Casey, Elly Griffiths, Peter James, Erin Kelly, Vaseem Khan, Dorothy Koomson, Shari Lapena, Abir Mukherjee, Liz Nugent and Richard Osman, the crowning of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year and the much anticipated Critics’ New Blood panel which showcases four talented debut novelists. This year’s cohort, selected by a panel of the UK’s leading crime fiction critics, are Jonny Sweet, Martta Kaukonen, Claire Coughlan and Colin Walsh. For aspiring writers, Creative Thursday offers an immersive day of workshops and talks led by bestselling writers and industry experts, with the unique opportunity to pitch work in the ‘Dragon’s Pen’.

A Festival for everyone, the evening events offer a host of opportunities for readers to engage with their favourite writers and include the hotly contested Late Night Quiz hosted by Val McDermid and Mark Billingham and the highly anticipated Confessions of a Crime Writer where well-known authors disclose deliciously dreadful secrets from their past and the audience decide if they should be forgiven, or not. Two hot-ticket Author Dinners will see readers join forces with crime writers Kia Abdullah, Chris Brookmyre, Sunny Singh, Imran Mahmood, Lesley Thomson, Syd Moore, John Sutherland, Trevor Wood, Araminta Hall and many more to solve a murder mystery with a twist.

After so many months of plotting and planning, I'm thrilled with the incredible showcase of crime writing talent the Festival committee has put together. From newcomers to titans of the genre, from cosy crime to hard-boiled whodunnits, from psychological thrillers to forensic procedurals, there really is something for everyone at this year's Festival. But for me the true joy of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival has always come down to one thing: the sheer pleasure of being among so many fellow book lovers, in a festival that puts the reader at the heart of everything. If you're a booklover, this Festival is for you.
Ruth Ware, author and 2024 Festival Programming Chair

This year’s Festival celebrates crime fiction’s rich heritage while looking firmly to the future of the genre, with extraordinary debut writers appearing alongside legends of their craft, and boundary-pushing events exploring bold new ideas. As an avid crime fiction fan and reader, as well as headline sponsor, I am looking forward to an unforgettable Festival. Simon Theakston, Chairman of T&R Theakston Ltd

Tickets for individual events are on general sale from 10am on Thursday 16 May. Classic Weekend Break Packages, Author Dinners and tickets for Creative Thursday are on sale now. To book tickets, please call +44(0)1423 562 303 or email info@harrogate-festival.org.uk. More information about tickets and packages can be found here.