Theakstons of Masham is probably most famous for its beer Old Peculier. A unique beer with a worldwide reputation, Old Peculier is in a class of its own, there is no other beer like it and therefore in presenting the beer as a brand to consumers it is always deliberately positioned in a way to reflect its unique status. The association with the world's greatest Crime Festival is a perfect example of this. But there are other parallels that can be drawn.

When the sponsorship of the Festival was first proposed, a small conundrum was presented. In what way can we further associate drinking Old Peculier with reading a crime novel. This was tackled in the way that only these things can be done - with a glass of Old Peculier whilst in contemplatory mood with a little time on one's hands. The striking initial taste sensation soon developed into something magnificent as the full flavour of the beer opened out in all its glory with rich warming fruity full bodied resonance before mellowing into a deeply satisfying finish. That was the Eureka moment! The perfect Crime novel does not have the 'whodunit' on page one. After a gripping opening scene the reader is drawn into the story with all its facets, experiencing, the characters, the plotting, the scenes and only at the end of the book, when the conclusion has been reached, the reader will then experience the satisfaction of the mystery solved.  The parallels between drinking Old Peculier and good crime novel became immediately obvious!

Two additional elements linking the beer with the festival were firstly, the close proximity of Masham, the Yorkshire dales market town in which Theakstons have brewed for over 190 years, to the spa town of Harrogate, the home of the International Festival. Second, the Crime Writers Festival draws fans from all over the world and in particular from the United States, with many coming to enjoy the four day festival in Harrogate.

Similarly, Old Peculier is sold in many countries all over the world but in particular in the United States. By linking all these facts together, a great platform for joint promotion was created and the justification for the sponsorship complete.

Theakston Old Peculier has been the title sponsor of the Crime Writing Festival almost from day one. The status of the Festival in the world of publishing grows in stature year after year, greatly enhanced by the introduction of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award launched in 2006. The awareness of the Old Peculier brand continues to be one of the highest of all beers in the UK and is widely considered to be one of the world iconic beers. On the back label of each bottle of Old Peculier there is one of a series of six ten-word crime stories written by renowned crime authors, acting as a constant reminder of this unique and successful association.

2018 Short List

The shortlist for crime writing’s most wanted accolade, the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, has been announced.

Celebrating its 15th year, the Awards feature six titles whittled down from a longlist of 18 crime novels published by British and Irish authors whose novels were published in paperback from 1 May 2017 to 30 April 2018.

The event, known as the friendliest and most inclusive on the circuit, is famed for its no barriers approach, as fans, fledgling writers and established superstar authors mingle in the hotel bar, bookshop and papakata tents in the hotel grounds.

The 2018 Award is run in partnership with T&R Theakston Ltd, WHSmith, and The Mail on Sunday.

The shortlist in full:

  • Spook Street - Mick Herron
  • Insidious Intent - Val McDermid
  • A Rising Man - Abir Mukherjee
  • The Long Drop - Denise Mina
  • The Intrusions - Stav Sherez
  • Persons Unknown - Susie Steiner

Voting opens on Sunday 1st July

Vote for the winner here 

The Short List

Spook Street - Mick Herron


Diana Jager is clever, strong and successful, a skilled surgeon and fierce campaigner via her blog about sexism. Yet it takes only hours for her life to crumble when her personal details are released on the internet as revenge for her writing.

Then she meets Peter. He’s kind, generous, and knows nothing about her past: the second chance she’s been waiting for. Within six months, they are married. Within six more, Peter is dead in a road accident, a nightmare end to their fairytale romance.

But Peter’s sister Lucy doesn’t believe in fairytales, and tasks maverick reporter Jack Parlabane with discovering the dark truth behind the woman the media is calling Black Widow

Insidious Intent - Val McDermid


DS Ferreira is back on the force after being severely injured in the line of duty. The first case to land on her desk takes her and DI Zigic to a brutal crime scene where a woman has been stabbed to death and her disabled daughter left to starve upstairs.

The murdered woman is Dawn Prentice – a woman who had come to Ferreira for help when she and her daughter were being subjected to harassment.

As Ferreira battles her demons and Zigic clashes with another officer, the detectives realise that the Prentice case rests on one crucial question – who was the real target of the killer: mother or daughter?

A Rising Man - Abir Mukherjee


Catherine Standish knows that chance encounters never happen to spooks. She’s worked in the Intelligence Service long enough to understand treachery, double-dealing and stabbing in the back. What she doesn’t know is why anyone would target her: a recovering drunk pushing paper with the other lost causes in Jackson Lamb’s kingdom of exiles at Slough House.

Whoever it is holding her hostage, it can’t be personal. It must be about Slough House. Most likely, it is about Jackson Lamb.

And say what you like about Lamb, he’ll never leave a joe in the lurch. He might even be someone you could trust with your life . 

The Long Drop - Denise Mina


When a teenage joyrider crashes a stolen car and ends up in a coma, a routine DNA test could be the key to unlocking the mystery of a twenty-year-old murder inquiry. Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pirie is an expert at solving the unsolvable. With each cold case closed, justice is served. So, finding the answer should be straightforward, but it’s as twisted as the DNA helix itself.

Meanwhile Karen finds herself irresistibly drawn to another case, one that she has no business investigating. And as she pieces together decades-old evidence, Karen discovers the most dangerous kinds of secrets. Secrets that someone is willing to kill for . . .

The Intrusions - Stav Sherez


A few little lies never hurt anyone. Right?


Paul has a plan. He has a vision of a better future, and he’s going to make it happen. If it means hiding or exaggerating a few things here and there, no harm done.

But when he charms his way on to a family holiday, and finds himself trapped among tensions and emotions he doesn’t understand, by the time he starts to realise that however painful the truth is, it’s the lies that cause the real damage… Well, by then, it might just be too late.

Persons Unknown - Susie Steiner


Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

Edith Hind is gone, leaving just her coat, a smear of blood and a half-open door.

Each of her friends and relatives has a version of the truth. But none quite adds up.

The press grows hungrier by the day. Can DS Manon Bradshaw fend them off, before a missing persons case becomes a murder investigation?


The 2018 Longlist







2018 Events

2018 Theakstons Old Peculier
Crime Writing Festival Programme

Box Office: 01423 562303 |

2018’s Programming Chair Lee Child has put together a world-class programme of events, including titans of the genre Denise Mina, John Grisham, Nicci French, Don Winslow, and even more more!


Thursday 19 July 2018

Creative Thursday 9am – 5.30pm | £99 per person

Fancy spending your day in the shoes of a murder detective?

This day-long creative session will show you how to think, breathe and live as a murder detective, from coming face to face with a staged murder scene to piecing together the events of the crime as they happened.

Creative Thursday gives you the chance to hone your writing skills with industry professionals and real-life crime experts.

2018 programme includes:

Fact into Fiction

Kate Bendelow and Graham Bartlett will take you through the details of how real-life crime scenes are investigated. Learn the Do’s and Don’ts of writing crime and procedure and spend time myth busting and locating the hidden ‘Drama Gems’ to get the most out of the drama.

Kate and Graham have spent decades in the police and can help you uncover the culture hierarchy and jargon, essential to writing authentic characters.

A (Re)Search for the Truth?

Neil White and Mel McGrath will help you seek out the truth behind the mystery.

Neil can help you write compelling and cliché-free courtroom scenes, effectively showcasing the pomp and protocol of the British Justice System and the law. You will gain a better understanding of the behaviours of lawyers and judges, and what happens if you land the nightmare client.

Mel can provide you with the golden tips on approaching research, specifically on accessing experts and the rules around how to transform what you learn into a gripping drama, while avoiding the temptation to overload your readers with information.


Your well earned lunch break will allow you to swap workshops and at the end of the day you will be confident in creating authentic characters and real drama from the discovery of a body to the incarceration of the killer.


The Dragons’ Pen

Four brilliant publishing professionals. Two minutes to convince them your synopsis and first chapter are worth reading. One audience full of your fellow would-be writers. Our literary version of the popular TV show, the Dragons’ Den, is not for the faint-hearted.




 Friday 20 July 2018


Denise Mina

Scottish crime writer and playwright, Denise Mina is a legend in the literary world. While working full time and studying law at night school, she found a way to write her first novel, Gamethrill.

Celebrating 20 years since her award-winning debut, the only author to have one Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year award, and the first woman to win The McIlvanney Prize for The Long Drop. Mina means business.

This crime writing supernova will be interviewed by Stav Sherez.


9.00am | Tickets: £14

I Used To Do This For A Living

Picture the scene, you’re sipping a Theakston’s, when someone orders something shaken not stirred. Having ‘Spy’ on your CV beats that stint on Morrisons checkout in your destiny as the perfect crime author. Working at the coalface of real life crime may offer a rich mine of story-telling gold, but which irresistible nuggets get in the way of narrative? Does job experience hurt, hinder or help?

Check out the remarkable CVs of Alafair Burke, once a prosecutor in America’s police precincts and courtrooms, Karen Cleveland a former CIA analyst, Chris Morgan Jones who worked for investigation company Kroll, and Joseph Finder who was recruited to the CIA. Charles Cummings – approached by MI6 for a job – is licenced to thrill as chair. Sit next to them at the bar and ask for career advice.


10.30am | Tickets: £11

Thats Where My Heart Is

There’s no place like… Click your heels three times. Where would you go? Bradford! Drawing comparisons with Baltimore in The Wire, A.A. Dhand’s Streets of Darkness delivered a tense slice of neo-noir – his books are a dark love song to the city. For Nigerian writer Leye Adenle Lagos is an active participant in his pacy, acclaimed debut Easy Motion Tourist.

Luca Veste was born and raised in Merseyside, reflected in his Murphy and Rossi thrillers (he’s even appeared in Scouse soap, Brookside). Smart and stylish, Susie Steiner’s hyper-realistic police procedurals feature cold case queen DS Manon Bradshaw. Set in Cambridge, Huntingdon and London, Missing, Presumed inspired a geo-targeted campaign by her publisher. Inspector Banks creator Peter Robinson whose heart is in Yorkshire (naturally), keeps it down to earth as Chair.


12.00pm | Tickets: £11

Wherever I Hang My Hat Is Home

Pack the pocket toothbrush. Our Programming Chair Lee Child created the iconic ‘noble loner’ with Jack Reacher. Four authors cut from the same cloth explore the enduring appeal. Gregg Hurwitz’s Orphan X series became an instant international bestseller, featuring the Nowhere Man – an orphan raised as a trained assassin – on a personal mission to help those with nowhere else to turn.

Parker Bilal’s Cairo-set The Makana Series, features his noir hero with a life in exile – an updated version of Chandler’s hardboiled loner. Tim Weaver’s novels feature missing persons’ investigator, David Raker, a widower, an outsider, and a lonely soul, with an affinity for the disappeared and the lost. Rod Reynolds’ world-weary, angry narrator is the disgraced New York reporter, Charlie Yates, on a quest for personal redemption. Laura Wilson reaches out to the drifters, and throws a lifeline, as Chair.

2.00pm | Tickets: £11

Write What You Know

How does life experience influence fiction? Novelist, playwright, actress and theatre-maker Stella Duffy completed Money in the Morgue, the unfinished novel left by New Zealand’s Ngaio Marsh. Stella spent her childhood in New Zealand. Author of the bestselling Crimson Lake and daughter of a parole officer, Candice Fox, spent her Australian childhood eavesdropping on tales of violence, madness and evil.

Khurrum Rahman grew up in west London and has been working in IT for a Local Authority for over 18 years. His debut East of Hounslow is a rip-roaring spy adventure with a strong dose of reality. Since his teens Matt Wesolowski has read a great many books about real murders and serial killers. His unique, ingenious Six Stories and follow-up Hydra, are inspired by his fascination with true crime. Cath Staincliffe keeps it real as chair. The Girl in the Green Dress sprang from something close to home – her experience as the parent of a transgender child.

3.30pm | Tickets: £11

L Barclay & L Lippman

Laura Lippman was a journalist on the Baltimore Sun before becoming one of the most acclaimed novelists in America. Garnering huge respect from readers and writers alike with her award-winning standalone novels and Tess Monaghan detective series, she writes stories that are ‘deeply moving explorations of the human heart.’ Her latest, Sunburn, is a tantalising modern version of the traditional noir novel.

Linwood Barclay also worked in the newspaper trade, moving from chief copy editor to columnist on the Toronto Star. His standalone thriller in 2007, No Time for Goodbye, catapulted him to the #1 internationally bestselling spot. He knows how to put readers through the wringer with page-turners of pulse-quickening pace. Parting Shot is his latest. Enjoy the ride with this double-act destined to hit the headlines.

5.00pm | Tickets: £14

TV Panel: Grantchester

James Runcie is a director, documentary film-maker, literary curator, founder member of The Late Show and author of the fifties-set crime drama, The Grantchester Mysteries, inspired by his father, the late Archbishop of Canterbury. Fittingly, Grantchester is a thoughtful, handsome moral meditation on life, subverted by gentle comedy, old fashioned romance and the dark psychology of murder. Sidney Chambers is a man of the cloth, with a taste for whisky, jazz and pretty parishioners, who solves crimes with Detective Inspector Geordie Keating, played by Robson Green. Green, with eyes so blue, is known to a certain generation for the singing-duo Robson and Jerome and to younger ones, for Extreme Fishing. The crime genre has given him his finest acting roles, firstly as Dr Tony Hill in Val McDermid’s Wire in the Blood and now in ITV’s adaptation of Grantchester.

5.00pm | Tickets £14

Dead Good Reader Awards

Last year, a record number of readers voted in the Dead Good Reader Awards which celebrated best police procedural, best adapted book and most unreliable narrator.

Back by popular demand, with six new award categories, nominations are now open for the 2018 awards.

The awards will feature an online reader nomination process. Readers can nominate their favourite authors and books for the awards online through the Dead Good website. Nominees with the most votes will form the category shortlists, and readers will then be able to vote for the final winners online.

The awards are as follows:

The Holmes and Watson Award for Best Detective Duo
The Whodunnit Award for the Book That Keeps You Guessing
The Cabot Cove Award for Best Small Town Mystery
The Wringer Award for the Character That’s Been Put Through It All
The House of Horrors Award for Most Dysfunctional Family
The Dead Good Recommends Award for Most Recommended Book
Each winner will receive a specially designed glass trophy.

The six bespoke awards will be at the event with attendees walking away with a goody bag full of brilliant crime novels.

6.30pm | Tickets: £12

John Grisham

Hold onto your hats your seats, and that pint of Theakston’s. In Harrogate for the first time is a veritable Giant of the Genre, John Grisham.

In the late 1980s, with a busy day job as a lawyer, Grisham started to write his first novel, A Time to Kill. His second, The Firm, remained on The New York Times bestseller list for 47 weeks. Grisham’s 25th legal thriller, The Rooster Bar, will be published in paperback this July to coincide with his visit to Harrogate. ‘America’s favourite storyteller’, he’s sold 300 million books worldwide, with nine adapted by Hollywood, featuring megastars Julia Roberts, Samuel L Jackson and Tom Cruise.

Grisham will square up to a man who has also achieved global domination – Programming Chair Lee Child. The New York resident author’s 23rd Reacher novel, Past Tense, is out in November. This American Dream team promises to go down in Harrogate history.

8.00pm | Tickets: £18


Richard’s Room 101 Of Crime

Star of TV’s Pointless, Richard Osman is an avid crime reader (and soon to be crime writer). In this light-hearted, late-night event, he teams up with bestsellers Martyn Waites, Laura Lippman and Mark Billingham to discuss the tics, tropes and tiresome clichés of crime fiction that really cheese them off. What will end up consigned to their criminal Room 101? Will it be mysteries solved by cats? Overly fiendish serial killers? Belgian detectives with ridiculous moustaches? Surely not!

Richard and his guests will each take a good, hard (and possibly sweary) look at the things that get on their nerves as well as talking on topics that have particularly annoyed members of the audience. If there’s one thing better than a panel of experts, it’s a panel of experts who are also highly opinionated and extremely gobby, so whether you agree with them or not, you can expect a full-on exchange of verbal fisticuffs and plenty of laughs.

10.00pm | Tickets: £11


Saturday 21 July 2018


Nicci French

Nicci Gerrard and Sean French are the murderously good crime-writing couple behind the Nicci French books. You’d think it would be the perfect recipe for murder – a husband and wife writing novels together. Perhaps their survival is explained by the fact she writes in the attic and he in the shed.

Whatever their secret, the partnership in crime and life has resulted in 20 novels, including their utterly addictive series about the indomitable Frieda Klein, the latest of which is Sunday Silence. Both attended Oxford University, both have distinguished careers in journalism: Nicci on The Observer for many years; Sean, at the New Statesman. Delving into the duo is the author of The Woman Who Ran and fellow seasoned journalist, Sam Baker. Sam has edited some of the UK’s biggest magazines and co-founded The Pool.

9.00am | Tickets: £14

It Happened Twenty Years Ago…

Five masters of the past travel through time to uncover the enduring appeal of historical crime fiction. Joe Kanon’s novels include Leaving Berlin and The Good German, filmed with George Clooney and Cate Blanchett. His latest, The Defectors, is set in Moscow at the height of the Cold War. Antonia Hodgson traipsed in the footsteps of the Brontes across Haworth Moor as a teen, foreseeing her destiny as an author inspired by Yorkshire’s wild landscapes and heritage. A Death in Fountains Abbey is her third novel featuring her hero, Thomas Hawkins, in the year 1728. The fourth is out this year.

In his first adult novel, Mad Blood Stirring, Simon Mayo is inspired by the true story of a group of American sailors imprisoned in Dartmoor in 1815. The story is so extraordinary that film rights were snapped up on the basis of just a four-page synopsis. Conspiracy is the fifth in S.J. Parris’ bestselling series featuring the 16th century heretic philosopher
and spy Giordano Bruno.

Triple winner of the CWA Historical Dagger Andrew Taylor keeps their feet in the here and now as chair. His latest, The Fire Court – is a sequel to The Ashes of London.

10.30am | Tickets: £11

New Blood

It’s one of Harrogate’s most anticipated panels. Val McDermid is one of the biggest names in crime writing history, but can a hot, new upstart contest her title? Get ready for The Next Big Thing as Val hand picks her writers to watch, introducing four exciting debut talents: The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan, The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton and Dark Pines by Will Dean.

12.00pm | Tickets: £11

Readers’ Book Group

Join Reader-In-Residence Mari Hannah at this year’s festival for a foray into 2018’s chosen Big Read title and discover this classic novel yourself. Mari is inviting readers to investigate James Patterson’s Along Came A Spider.

1.00pm | Tickets: FREE

What Happened Next?

Alumni of Val McDermid’s New Blood panels from years past tell us how it went with their second books – and their third, fourth and fifth. Liam McIlvanney appeared in 2010 with All the Colours of the Town acclaimed by Val as, ‘authentic, atmospheric and ambitious.’ The Quaker is out this year. Kate Rhodes’ Crossbones Yard was picked in 2012, with Val praising the ‘fresh voice of the protagonist’. With five books in the Alice Quentin series, her latest, Hell Bay is out now.

Eva Dolan was a 2014 New Blood for Long Way Home. Three more in her acclaimed Zigic and Ferreira series followed. Val described her first standalone This is how it Ends as ‘imbued with passion.’ A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee in the class of 2016, was hailed as ‘One of the most exciting debut novels I’ve read in years.’ His sequel in the Sam Wyndham series is A Necessary Evil. Voracious reader, Lee Child, chairs.

2.00pm | Tickets : £11

The Truth Behind The Crime

Straight out of a novel, or a movie plot, Dirk Kurbjuweit’s suburban life dramatically changed when a stalker terrorised his family; his lawyer advised him to get a gun. Fear is his bestselling novel, based on those events. In He Said, She Said Erin Kelly writes about how criminal justice can fail victims of sex crimes. She spoke to rape survivors and sat through a serial voyeurism trial to research the background to her novel.

Chris Brookmyre has said Black Widow was inspired by stories told by his wife Marisa Haetzman, an anaesthetist. They’ve now tapped into her Masters in the history of medicine to co-write historical crime, inspired by real events. Criminal defence barrister Imran Mahmood took on the voice of his inner-city clients in his debut novel, You Don’t Know Me, which puts the reader in the jury box at a murder trial. Mel McGrath’s Give Me the Child, was inspired by a true life case of a disturbed, adopted child. She keeps it real as Chair.

3.30pm | Tickets: £11

Val McDermid & Sue Black

DNA and forensics have transformed detection, taking the genre from the puzzle in the library to the minutiae under the microscope. Val McDermid is one of the most admired crime authors at work, selling 10 million copies of her novels worldwide. As the ‘Queen of psychological thrillers’, her most enduring creation is the Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series, adapted for TV as Wire in the Blood.

Dame Professor Sue Black is a forensic anthropologist and Val’s go-to expert. Founding director of the award-winning Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification at Dundee University, she was awarded an OBE for her International Human Identification work on mass graves. Working with police teams, she provided innovative evidence that led to the conviction of Scotland’s largest paedophile ring. Sue is author of All That Remains: A Life in Death.

5.00pm | Tickets: £14

Author Dinner

Programming Chair, Lee Child, writes the script for this year’s Author Murder Mystery Dinner. Fill the wine glasses and sort out the double bluffs in this delightfully devious dinner. You will have one of these brilliant authors seated at your table to help you unravel the mystery over dessert…

Christi Daugherty, Teresa Driscoll, Mark Edwards, Patricia Gibney, Elly Griffiths, Mick Herron, Sarah Hilary, Olivia Kiernan, Colette McBeth, Caroline Mitchell, Liz Nugent, B.A. Paris, C.L. Taylor. Further authors to be announced.

6.15pm | Tickets: £32

Don Winslow

Be wowed by Winslow. Don has sold over 100 million books worldwide. Dubbed ‘America’s leading crime writer’, he has been profiled in Rolling Stone magazine. Hollywood directors such as Oliver Stone and Ridley Scott have turned his novels into blockbusting films.

His latest, The Force, about a corrupt New York cop, has earned him the best reviews of his career. Fans include Stephen King, who said it was: ‘Mesmerizing, a triumph…Think THE GODFATHER, only with cops. It’s that good.’ Winslow spent five years researching the novel on NYPD stakeouts. He said it was ‘the book I’ve wanted to write my whole life.’ Ex-publisher turned crime author, Daphne Wright, otherwise known as NJ Cooper, author of the Karen Taylor and Trish Maguire series, keeps procedures calm and asks the questions.

8.30pm | Tickets: £14

Late Night Quiz

It’s THE quiz! Mark Billingham and Val McDermid have both created a side-line in quiz-land, starring in Pointless, winning Celebrity Mastermind and beating The Eggheads. Mark’s taken on The Chase, and Val made a killing on University Challenge. No pressure. Isn’t it time someone gave them their own quiz show?? Remember, it’s the winning that counts!

10.00pm | Tickets: £11

Sunday 22 July 2018


Frozen Lands

Why do cold climates inspire such gory thrills? From the frozen north, civil engineer Yrsa Sigurðardóttir is an award-winning, No. 1 best-selling author of the Gudmundsdóttir series, dubbed Iceland’s answer to Stieg Larson.

Samuel Bjørk is often compared to fellow Norwegian, Jo Nesbo. Blasting in from biting Oslo, the novelist, playwright and singer is author of Scandinavia’s bestselling Munch and Krüger series, of which The Owl Always Hunts at Night is his latest. Jimmy Perez is often clad in a fetching woolly jumper in the TV adaptation of Shetland. Ann Cleeves latest in the series, Cold Earth, features torrential rain, leading to a gruesome discovery. Meanwhile, her other sleuth, Vera is ready for the British weather with her trench coat and floppy hat; The Seagull is set in the chilly seaside town of Whitley Bay. Keeping everyone warm is our chair, BBC Breakfast and Watchdog’s Steph McGovern.

10.00am | Tickets: £11

Sophie Hannah

Only the bible and Shakespeare outsell Agatha. The woman who gave butlers a bad name has sold over two billion books. It takes a brave author to crack the Christie code. An internationally bestselling crime novelist in her own right and Christie fan, Sophie Hannah rose to the Hercule-ian challenge with her bestselling Poirot novels.

Renowned for her psychological crime fiction, published in 32 languages and 51 territories, Sophie’s Waterhouse and Zailer novels were adapted for ITV in the 2011 series Case Sensitive. Her successful poetry collection Pessimism for Beginners was shortlisted for the T S Eliot Award. The ballroom where the missing Agatha was famously discovered sees Sophie interviewed by Steve Mosby, author of ten psychological thrillers.

11.30am | Tickets: £14


Festival Weekend Break Packages:

Make The Perfect Getaway!

Treat yourself to a long weekend at the crime hot spot of the summer by booking a combined ticket and accommodation package. Stay in one of our specially selected Festival hotels and join over 80 of the world’s most celebrated crime authors in conversation, in action and in the bar!

  • 3 nights bed & breakfast accommodation (19, 20 & 21 July 2018).
  • Weekend Rover Ticket with access to all Festival events, from the Award event on Thursday evening to the last event on Sunday (Excludes Author Dinner on Saturday 21 July. Please note other events may be excluded once final programme is confirmed in Spring 2018), delicious lunches at The Old Swan Hotel on the Friday and Saturday and a complimentary Festival Goody Bag.

For details:

Box Office: 01423 562 303 Email:





The 2017 Winners

Chris Brookmyre was last year's Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award for his novel Black Widow. The story takes on the theme of cyber-abuse, where "even the twists have twists", said the judges.

Brookmyre beat off stiff competition from the shortlist of six, whittled down from a longlist of 18 crime novels published by British and Irish authors whose novels were published in paperback from 1st May 2016 to 30th April 2017. Also shortlisted were Eva Dolan's After You Die, Sabine Durrant's Lie With Me, Mick Herron's Real Tigers, Val McDermid's Out Of Bounds, and Susie Steiner's Missing, Presumed.

Brookmyre said: “I’m really quite taken aback. I’ve been shortlisted three times before for this award, always the bridesmaid, today I get to walk up the aisle. A book is not just the work of the author behind it. I’d like to thank my editor, Ed Wood, for his calibre and daring that made a good book greater. I’m mainly just very proud.”

A special presentation was made to Lee Child, the winner of the eighth Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award. Child joins Val McDermid, Sara Paretsky, Lynda La Plante, Ruth Rendell, PD James, Colin Dexter and Reginald Hill as recipients of the Award.

Child said: “It’s an honour - probably undeserved - to be placed in the same category as the previous recipients of this prize.  In particular I would like to thank Simon Theakston for his generous and visionary support of the genre.”

Title sponsor and executive director of T&R Theakston, Simon Theakston, said: “We’re particularly delighted to be honouring Lee Child. He is nothing short of a phenomenon. The Jack Reacher series tops bestseller lists worldwide, with a staggering 100 million books sold.  Lee is very deserving of this accolade, and will have his rightful place in a pantheon of legendary crime authors who have achieved this honour to date.”

Past Winners


Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year - Chris Brookmyre, Black Widow


Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year - Clare Mackintosh, I Let You Go


Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year - Sarah Hilary, Someone Else's Skin


Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year - Belinda Bauer, Rubbernecker


Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year  -  Denise Mina, with Simon Theakston and Jonathan Manby

Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year - Gods and Beasts by Denise Mina

Outstanding Contribution Award - Ruth Rendall



Outstanding Contribution Award - Colin Dexter

Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year - The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina



Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year - 61 Hours by Lee Child

Outstanding Contribution Winner - PD James

Vote now





Voting opens on Sunday 1st July

Vote for the winner here