Happy World Book Day!

Happy World Book Day to our client Harrogate International Festivals! Check out the latest release on the launch of their Big Read with crime author, Mari Hannah. BIG READ TOURS…

Happy World Book Day to our client Harrogate International Festivals!

Check out the latest release on the launch of their Big Read with crime author, Mari Hannah.


The biggest celebration of crime writing in the world is to tour libraries across the North of England this June with its annual Big Read.

Mari Hannah, author, Programming Chair, and Reader in Residence at the 2019 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, will hit the road to host the North’s biggest book club. She’ll be discussing thriller The Black Echo by Michael Connelly.

The Big Read, supported by The Arts Council, aims to encourage crime fiction fans, and entice reluctant readers, to read and discuss the same book. It offers opportunities for social meet-ups, making new friends and meeting like-minds. 2019 will be the 11th Big Read.

Mari Hannah said: “American thriller writer Michael Connelly’s The Black Echo (1992) is an assured debut that blew me away when I read it. LAPD detective Harry Bosch is such a believable character. In this book, he recognises the victim – found dead in a drainpipe at the Mulholland Dam – as former friend and fellow ‘tunnel rat’ from his Vietnam days, a man he believes he let down. It’s this that drives him on to seek justice for the victim. The Black Echo got me into reading crime fiction. Connelly remains my all-time favourite. He never fails to deliver and I can’t wait to share the story on the Big Read 2019.”

Thanks to his publisher, Orion, 1,500 free copies of the book are available and can be collected at any participating library plus the Harrogate International Festival Office from April onwards.

After The Black Echo, Connelly went on to sell 74 million books worldwide, with film adaptations including Lincoln Lawyer starring Matthew McConaughey. He is also executive producer of the Amazon Prime drama Bosch, based on his bestselling Harry Bosch novels.

Michael Connelly said: “This is very exciting news. The authors who have previously had this distinction are my favourites and the fact that people will be reading a book I wrote 30 years ago while never knowing if it would be published or that I would become an author is incredibly fulfilling.”

The Big Read will take place in libraries across Yorkshire and the North East from June 3-14 and is completely free of charge.

Beth Walker, Marketing & Events Assistant at Harrogate International Festivals, said: “We would like to invite as many people as possible into these libraries for the 11th Big Read. You do not have to have previous Book Group experience or have read hundreds of books – everyone is welcome! We’re passionate about promoting reading, and the importance of libraries within communities. The benefits of reading stretch through a person’s life. Research shows that reading for pleasure can result in increased empathy, improved sleep levels, improved relationships with others, reductions in the symptoms of depression and dementia alongside a general improvement in wellbeing. We hope to see you there!”

Mari Hannah is the award-winning author of the Kate Daniels series, the Ryan & O’Neil thrillers, and the Stone & Oliver series of police procedurals. The first in the Kate Daniels series has been optioned for TV by Sprout Pictures.

Mari takes the helm of Programming Chair from Lee Child for the 2019 Theakston Old Peculier Festival, hosted in Harrogate in July. The line-up includes giants of the genre James Patterson, Jo Nesbo, Val McDermid, Ian Rankin and Harlan Coben.

To request a free copy of the book, please contact crime@harrogate-festival.org.uk for further details. Join the conversation online at #BigRead2019.

Notes to Editors

The Big Read: Location and Dates

Blaydon Library, Mon 3 June | 6pm

Ashington Library, Tues 4 June | 4pm

Northallerton Library, Weds 5 June | 11am

Ripon Library, Weds 5 June | 3pm

Sheffield Library, Fri 7 June | 10am

Rotherham, Riverside Library, Fri 7 June | 1pm

Batley Library, Sat 8 June | 2pm

Wakefield Library, Mon 10 June | 11am

Barnsley Library, Weds 12 June | 6pm

Acklam Library, Fri 14 June | 10am

Hartlepool Library, Fri 14 June | 2pm

About Mari Hannah

Mari Hannah is the author of the Kate Daniels series, the Ryan & O’Neil thrillers, and the Stone & Oliver series of police procedurals. In 2010, she received the Northern Writers’ Award. In November 2013, she won the Polari First Book Prize for her debut, THE MURDER WALL, the first in the Kate Daniels series which has since been optioned for TV by Sprout Pictures. For her body of work, she won the CWA Dagger in the Library 2017.

Living in a small Northumberland village with her partner, a former murder detective, Mari became a writer after her career as a Probation Officer was cut short following an assault on duty. She tried different forms of writing before settling on prose. For several years, Mari was a scriptwriter with an eye on a career in film or TV. This took off after pitching a crime pilot to the BBC based on the characters in her then unfinished debut novel THE MURDER WALL, winning a place on the BBC’s North East Voices Drama Development Scheme, adapting the script to a crime novel when it ended.

That award-winning book and seven others were published by Pan Macmillan before she moved to Orion in 2017. Mari’s ninth book, THE LOST, the first in a series featuring DI David Stone and DS Frankie Oliver, was published in the spring of 2018. The tenth, THE INSIDER, was published in November 2018. Her third Stone & Oliver novel, The Scandal, will launch on March 7, 2019.


About the Big Read

The first Big Read organised by the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival took place in 2009 and featured Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep. Since then, the Big Read has grown from 3 events into a 2-week long tour across North Yorkshire. The aim for the Big Read is to encourage as many people as possible into libraries, to read the same book at the same time, focussing in particular on reluctant readers and those who are not already engaged with the library. The event aims to be accessible to all, offering free copies of the book from all participating libraries, and a free ticket to every session. The current Reader-in-Residence, Mari Hannah, is as equally passionate as Harrogate International Festivals is about reading and about the importance of a thriving library within communities and we are proud to be supporting this through the Big Read. The legacy Harrogate International Festivals aims to leave behind, is to provide the libraries with the skills and tools required to extend their offering of vibrant literature experiences, attracting larger audiences from areas with the lowest arts engagement.