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Thursday, 15 July 2010

Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Harrogate

Four days of crime in the charming Yorkshire spa town of Harrogate awaits those with a propensity for that sort of thing. From 22 to 25 July, some of the biggest names in crime fiction - too many in fact to single any out here - will be participating in the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. Check out the website for its extensive list of events. Check out the prices, too. The winner will also be announced of the competition for Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, for which the votes of readers are still being sought. Vote here.

For those that practice the gentle art of literary murder, two events stand out. One is Creative Thursday when, from 9.00am to 5.30pm at the Crown Hotel, workshops and a Q & A session allow crime writers to hone their skills. There is also a chance for writers to present their ideas to a panel of literary agents and editors in a two-minute pitch, in a session they call The Dragons' Pen (geddittt!). Finally, the winner of the alibi Search for a New Crime Writer Competition will be announced at a reception that is invitation-only, but for which invitations can be had by booking a Creative Thursday place. Check out the website for details.

The other event of particular interest to writers is The Crime Writers Association Dagger Awards to be held, also at the Crown Hotel, on Friday at 6.00pm. Among their many awards, the Debut Dagger provides another opportunity for an emerging crime writer to gain the attention of publishers and agents. It runs every year. Submissions for this year's prize closed in February and the winner will be announced at Harrogate. But that doesn't mean you can't apply for next year. Don't forget to sign up for their news letter. (I sent in a submission a couple of years back though they haven't got back to me yet. But as we all know, dealing with rejection is just part of the fun of writing.)

Harrogate, of course, has a bit of form itself. After Agatha Christie famously disappeared in December 1926, it was at the Swan Hotel in Harrogate that she was spotted by one of the hotel's banjo players, where she had checked in under the assumed name of Mrs Teresa Neele from Cape Town. And in 2007, treasure hunters found a hoard of loot hidden near the town by the Vikings in the 10th century, product of their notorious and nefarious goings on.

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