Laura Lippman and Denise Mina have been announced as the Featured Guests at one of Europe’s biggest crime fiction conventions in the spring.
CrimeFest, sponsored by Specsavers, is hosted from 9 to 12 May 2024 at the Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel. The biggest event of its kind in the UK, up to 150 authors will descend on Bristol appearing in over 50 panels. It attracts regular delegates from as far as Australia, the Far East, Canada, the United States and mainland Europe.
The Scottish novelist Denise Mina won the CWA John Creasy Dagger for Best First Crime Novel for her debut, Garnethill, published in 1998. Now, she is a seminal and multi-award-winning author, known for her DI Alex Morrow books, as well as adapting Steig Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy as graphic novels. Denise has made several TV and radio documentaries, as well as frequent media appearances. She is also the first woman asked to write a new novel featuring Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlow; the paperback of The Second Murderer is out April 24. Denise last headlined CrimeFest in 2013, alongside the late admired Scottish author, William McIllvanney.
The acclaimed American author Laura Lippman and former reporter on The Baltimore Sun is best known for her novels set in Baltimore featuring reporter turned investigator, Tess Monaghan. She is a two-time CrimeFest eDunnit Award winner for Wild Lake (2017) and Sunburn (2019) and has won the Agatha, Anthony, and Edgar awards. Her novel, Every Secret Thing, was adapted into a 2014 film, starring Diane Lane, and Lady in the Lake was adapted into a series for Apple.
As a convention, CrimeFest is open to all published authors and known for its inclusive approach. The event is run by Adrian Muller, co-host Donna Moore, and a small team of committed volunteers.
The convention began in 2008 and attracts readers, fans, editors, publishers, and reviewers, and features the annual CrimeFest Awards.
Director and co-founder of CrimeFest, Adrian Muller, said: “It’s a real honour to be welcoming Laura and Denise to CrimeFest next year. They are both remarkable writers who generate huge amounts of respect and acclaim, in the publishing industry and with readers alike. We can’t wait to welcome them to Bristol.”
Canadian mystery writer Cathy Ace will be the Gala Dinner’s ‘Leader of Toasts’, toasting the authors nominated for the 2024 CrimeFest awards. Cathy’s Cait Morgan Mysteries have been optioned for TV by the production company, Free@Last TV, which is behind the hit series, Agatha Raisin.
The convention has also announced a homage to PD James, the creator of Adam Dalgliesh, known as the Queen of crime fiction. The Ghost of Honour panel will feature the award-winning crime writer and lawyer, Frances Fyfield, the Sunday Times chief fiction critic, Peter Kemp, and the author, playwright, and writer and producer for TV and radio, Simon Brett.
Other acclaimed authors confirmed include chair of the Crime Writers’ Association, Vaseem Khan, the author of two award-winning crime series set in India. It also welcomes the award-winning Janice Hallett, best known for her phenomenally successful debut thriller, The Appeal.
Bristol will see some of the genre’s most established names descend, including the author, critic, and historian Martin Edwards, who returns to host one of CrimeFest’s most popular panels: Authors Remembered.
The convention also welcomes some of the newest talent, such as Abigail Dean, whose first novel Girl A in 2021 took the book world by storm. Donna Moore will be moderating a panel showcasing debut authors.
Specsavers is the long-running sponsor of the convention. Dame Mary Perkins, who founded the national and international chain of opticians in Bristol, 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 of CrimeFest, said: “Generally, the crime writing community is a very friendly one, and CrimeFest has always been a down to earth, welcoming convention open to all. We continue to work hard at creating an inclusive energy.”
First introduced in 2022, CrimeFest’s bursary for a crime fiction author of colour returns for a third year. The bursary covers the costs of a weekend pass to the convention, with a night’s accommodation and panel appearance. Previous recipients were Saima Mir and Elizabeth Chakrabarty.
The convention also continues its Community Outreach Programme. In partnership with the independent Max Minerva’s Bookshop and participating publishers, CrimeFest gifts thousands of pounds of crime fiction books for children and young adults to school libraries.
Also, with thanks to Specsavers, librarians, students, and those on benefits are offered significantly discounted tickets.
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