Book Club: Literary City
Literary festivals are a booming industry, with an estimated 350 taking place across the UKeach year.
That’s without even beginning to explore the incredible array that take place in exotic locations across the globe. Miami, anyone? How about Jaipur?
If you can’t quite stretch to intercontinental trips, what are the best options for UK book festivals?
Our first stop is in Huddersfield: just a short trip from Sheffield to ease us in gently.
The Huddersfield Literature Festival runs from 8 to 18 of March, and includes events
featuring Joanne Harris and Jeremy Vine, as well as local boy Patrick Stewart, and plenty of films and family-friendly fare.
One highlight (a theme will emerge here, look away if you don’t like your literary festivals with a hefty helping of murder) is the Dine With Crime lunch. Featuring a trio of crime writers, as well as a nice bowl of soup, what’s not to like?
If you fancy a trip further afield, what about Bristol’s legendary CrimeFest in May?
The festival takes place from 17 to 20 May in the centre of this city with more than a little in
common with our own: this too is a land where the music is cool and strangers smile at each
other in the street.
Literary superstar Lee Child is signed up, and the programme includes
several events aimed at aspiring crime writers.
CrimeFest prides itself on its inclusivity: this is a convention for people who like to read an occasional crime novel as well as for die-hard fanatics.
In June, Harrogate plays host to Europe’s largest event dedicated to the celebration of crime fiction (I told you a theme would emerge here).
The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival has a reputation for being one big friendly party. Harrogate may mainly be known for
being posh, but none other than Charles Dickens also described it as “the queerest place
with the strangest people in it leading the oddest lives.” So, I should fit right in.
Lee Child (he gets around, doesn’t he?) has signed up to be the 2018 Programming Chair, and promises to attract more of the cream of the American crop of crime writers than ever before to the home of Betty’s ‘fat rascal’.
With 90 UK and international authors at over 30 events, you will need some stamina to make it through.
Which all brings us to the cherry on top of the literary festival year, which will of course be
Sheffield’s own Off The Shelf festival of words in October. 2017’s festival was the biggest and best yet, and I can’t wait to see what treats they have in store for us this year.
Who needs Miami or Jaipur, after all.