Mark Billingham and Elly Griffiths have been announced as the Featured Guests at one of Europe’s biggest crime fiction conventions this spring, CrimeFest in Bristol.
CrimeFest, sponsored by Specsavers, is hosted from 11 to 14 May 2023 at the Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel. Up to 150 authors will descend on Bristol appearing in over 50 panels.
Featured guest Mark Billingham worked as an actor and stand-up comedian before publishing his first crime novel Sleepyhead in 2001. Billingham’s novels have now sold over 6 million copies. He has had 21 Sunday Times bestsellers and two TV series have been made of Mark’s books – Thorne by Sky starring David Morrissey, and In the Dark by the BBC. A third is currently in development. Rabbit Hole, his 2020 novel, was named as Crime Book of the Year by The Times.
A regular on TV and radio, he begins his first new book series for 20 years with The Last Dance, which is set in Blackpool and features Detective Declan Miller. The Last Dance is published on 25 May, 2023.
Acclaimed crime author Elly Griffiths is best known for her Dr Ruth Galloway series. This year, she brings the beloved series to a close with the 15th instalment of the no. 1 Sunday Times bestselling series, The Last Remains.
Elly is also the author of The Brighton Mystery series, set in the 1950’s and 60’s, inspired by her own grandfather’s life on the stage, as well as three standalone novels, the latest Bleeding Heart Yard, was published to glowing reviews in October 2022. She is #18 on the list of most borrowed authors from UK libraries, and is a recipient of the Crime Writers’ Association Dagger in the Library award.
The CrimeFest convention began in Bristol in 2008 and attracts readers, fans, editors, publishers and reviewers, thanks to its reputation as a hotbed for crime writing talent.
Director and co-founder of CrimeFest, Adrian Muller, said: “It’s a delight to welcome each year featured guest authors to CrimeFest, and we are thrilled to announce Elly and Mark for 2023. Both are not only hugely acclaimed names in the genre, but are also known for being warm, friendly and entertaining at literary events, so audiences are in for a real treat.”
As a convention, CrimeFest is open to all published authors and known for its inclusive approach. The event is run by a team of committed volunteers.
Also returning is last year’s featured guest, Andrew Child – brother of Lee Child and co-writer of the iconic Jack Reacher series. Reacher had the big screen treatment with Tom Cruise, followed by the more recent Amazon TV adaptation starring Alan Ritchson.
Other acclaimed authors include Vaseem Khan, the author of two award-winning crime series set in India. His latest, The Last Man of Bombay was picked as the top crime book of the year by the Guardian, Financial Times and Daily Express.
Will Dean, whose debut in 2017 Dark Pines became a word-of-mouth sensation, attends with his latest novel Wolf Pack. Also appearing is Abigail Dean, who was an instant Sunday Times bestseller with her debut Girl A in 2021.
CrimeFest also welcomes the 2022 CWA New Blood Dagger winner and CrimeFest Award nominee, Janice Hallett, best known for her phenomenally successful debut thriller, The Appeal with her latest, The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels.
Also returning is a former CrimeFest Toastmaster, the screenwriter and novelist Robert Thorogood, creator of the immensely popular BBC One series Death in Paradise; his new spin-off series Beyond Paradise starring Kris Marshall will be screened on BBC1 from Friday, February 24, 2023.
Bristol will see some of the genre’s most established names descend, including the crime author, playwright and TV and radio producer Simon Brett, the Canadian mystery writer Cathy Ace, the author, critic and historian Martin Edwards, and author and chair of the Crime Writers’ Association, Maxim Jakubowski. Maxim also returns as the host of the closing Criminal Mastermind Quiz.
Crime fiction is the most popular genre in the UK and dominates our TV screens; a wealth of crime authors in attendance have had books recently snapped up for TV or film adaptations.
Dame Mary Perkins, who founded the national and international chain of opticians Specsavers in Bristol, is the headline sponsor.
Dame Mary said: “I am an avid reader and fan of the genre, and I always look forward to CrimeFest, which is so friendly it feels like all who go are welcomed as part of a big family, connected by a love of books and reading. We are proud sponsors of the convention.”
Donna Moore, co-founder: “We pride ourselves on being open to new and established authors, creating a friendly and inclusive energy at CrimeFest. Bristol is known for its vibrant, creative and independent spirit, and CrimeFest offers an exciting opportunity for writers and readers alike to meet and mingle.”
Highlights include the annual Pub Quiz with the journalist and author Peter Guttridge as the Inquisitor; Peter is also the Toastmaster at the annual CrimeFest Awards, featuring the Specsavers Debut Crime Novel Award.
2023 will also offer the CrimeFest bursary for a crime fiction author of colour. The bursary covers the costs of a weekend pass to the convention, with a night’s accommodation and panel appearance.
In partnership with the independent Max Minerva’s Bookshop, CrimeFest is giving away £4,000 worth of books to eight primary and five secondary inner-city schools in Bristol. CrimeFest offers discounts to students and the unemployed.
The full programme will be announced shortly.
CrimeFest runs at the Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel from 11-14 May, 2023.
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