JK Rowling to headline Harrogate Crime Writing Festival as her alter ego Robert Galbraith

Harrogate Crime Writing Festival

Harrogate Crime Writing Festival - Credit: Paul Grover/REX

Magical addition to Harrogate Crime Writing Festival’s killer line-up

JK Rowling or Robert Galbraith

JK Rowling or Robert Galbraith - Credit: Paul Grover/REX

Organisers of Europe’s biggest celebration of crime writing have waved their magic wand to conjure up an all-star line-up for 2014, including the wonderful wizard of words herself JK Rowling.

The internationally-renowned Harry Potter author will be making her first and only appearance of 2014 as her crime-writing alter ego Robert Galbraith at Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, which takes place at the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate from July 17th to 20th.

She’ll be discussing her new book, The Silk Worm, the second thriller in the Cormoran Strike series (published by Little Brown on June 19th), at a special event hosted by her fellow crime writer Val McDermid at the Royal Hall from 7.30pm on Friday July 18th.

She joins a heady cast of celebrated writers making exclusive appearances, including Ann Cleeves, whose books have been made into the hit TV series Vera; John Harvey, author of the popular Charlie Resnick novels; Sophie Hannah, whose novels have transferred to television as the series Case Sensitive; Prime Suspect creator Lynda La Plante; American author Laura Lippman; Scottish screenwriter and novelist Peter May; and Denise Mina, winner of the last Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year.

This year’s stellar list of names has been put together by award-winning, Leeds-based author Steve Mosby, who takes over the reins from Val McDermid as programming chair. He’s the author of seven novels – The Third Person, The Cutting Crew, The 50/50 Killer, Cry for Help, Still Bleeding, Black Flowers, and Dark Room, with his eighth, The Nightmare Place, due to be published in June.

‘It’s a pleasure and honour to be chair of this year’s festival,’ he said. ‘It’s one of the most sought-after events in the crime writing community, attracting the biggest names from around the world.

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‘It’s a big pressure to live up to its legacy, but the 2014 programme is really quite special.’

The annual Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, which first launched in 2003, is hosted at the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate, where Agatha Christie was famously found in 1926 after disappearing in mysterious, and still largely unexplained, circumstances.

The festival has established itself over the years as an informal, inclusive event in which visitors, readers and fans are encouraged to join up to 80 of the world’s most celebrated crime authors ‘in conversation, in action and in the bar’.

Simon Theakston, executive director of headline sponsor T&R Theakston, said: ‘We’ve supported the festival almost from the start, and every year I think it surpasses already high expectations.

‘This year, with its remarkable line-up of world-class authors, is no different. It truly is a delight for Theakstons to be part of such an iconic annual event on the literary calendar.’

Behind the festival atmosphere, the event is one of the most important in the crime publishing calendar, with publishers scheduling new releases to coincide with the July date. Agents, publishers, publicists and authors attend from all over Europe and the world.

Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival is now ranked as one of the top three literary festivals in the UK by The Guardian and features in The Independent’s 50 Best Festivals.

With four days packed with events, the full programme will be announced in early May.

For more information in the meantime, visit harrogateinternationalfestivals.com/crime or call the box office on 01423 562 303.