Book lovers are invited to join a host of author events throughout June to celebrate National Crime Reading Month (NCRM).
The month-long festival, which takes place across the UK and Ireland, is run by the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) in partnership with national charity, The Reading Agency.
It is designed to celebrate the UK’s most popular genre and get the nation reading.
This year, NCRM aims to showcase the enormous breadth of the crime genre, with its huge range of sub-genres including cosy, supernatural, and psychological thrillers, to name just a few.
2023 is a special year as it marks the 70th anniversary of the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA). One of the UK’s most prominent crime writing societies, the CWA works to support, promote, and celebrate the crime writing genre. NCRM culminates with the prestigious CWA Dagger awards ceremony, hosted at the end of June.
Maxim Jakubowski, Chair of the CWA, said: “National Crime Reading Month is all about bringing new books to readers and new readers to this richly varied genre. We want everyone to #PickUpAPageTurner this June.”
Karen Napier, CEO, The Reading Agency said: “Through our adult reading work, we know how important crime writing is both for lifelong reading lovers and for those who are just starting out on their reading journey. We’re delighted to be taking part in NCRM once more this year and help new readers discover great reads.”
The month launches on June 1 with an event at Waterstones Piccadilly featuring two of The Reading Agency’s ‘Quick Reads’ authors, Dreda Say Mitchell andLouise Candlish, chaired by Abir Mukherjee.
In Scotland, NCRM will be launched by the research Professor in Forensic Science, Jim Fraser, author of Murder Under the Microscope. He’ll be speaking at Edinburgh Central Library.
A special panel event is being held on 2nd June at the British Library focusing on Kate Jackson’s new book, How to Survive a Crime Classic Novel. Kate will be joined by bestselling authors Mark Billingham, Abir Mukherjee, and Victoria Selman. The British library publishes the hugely popular Crime Classics series.
The Northern Crime Syndicate will entertain library-goers across the North-East with Whose Crime Is It Anyway? Authors including Trevor Wood, Robert Scragg and Fiona Erskine will improvise a bestseller in an hour, with the audiences help.
There will also be stand-alone author talks, such as an evening with the award-winning journalist, screenwriter and author of The Appeal, Janice Hallett, at South Ruislip Library.
Speaking on the allure of ‘cosy crime,’ which has dominated book sale, Janice Hallett said: “Cosy crime fiction is a celebration of the conundrum. It’s a workout for your critical mind as you attempt to untangle the fiendish knot of the plot…once you start reading, you’ll be captivated, absorbed, enthralled, and ultimately entertained.”
In Dublin, one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed authors, Karin Slaughter, will be in conversation with journalist and crime writer, Edel Coffey, organised by the Murder One International Crime Writing Festival. Slaughter has sold 35 million books; Pieces of Her is currently a Netflix series starring Toni Collette.
NCRM aims to be an inclusive initiative celebrating diversity in the genre at every level, with events both in person and virtual to ensure accessibility. Audiences will have the chance to put their own writing skills to the test too, with a number of creative writing workshops on offer.
Sam Blake, the NCRM organiser and CWA board member, said: “Crime fiction has drawn audiences since the Penny Dreadfuls. It’s hugely popular and dominates our bookshelves and TV screens. There’s something for everyone and we hope by demonstrating the breadth of the genre that NCRM will engage even more readers and encourage them to discover authors they haven’t read before.”
Ambassadors for NCRM include authors Steve Cavanagh, Elly Griffiths, Vaseem Khan, Nadine Matheson, LJ Ross, Robin Stevens, Sarah Ward, Roz Watkins, Victoria Selman, Penny Batchelor, TM Logan, Dorothy Koomson and Professor Jim Fraser.
Ambassador Robin Stevens, author of the Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries, said: “I’m so proud to be a NCRM ambassador this year – crime fiction is such a varied and exciting genre that there’s a story out there for everyone to enjoy, no matter their interest. I hope I can help prove that in June!”
Nielsen book data reports that sales of crime fiction in 2022 were up 19% pre-pandemic levels, with an increased appetite in ‘cosy crime’ book sales.
One in six adults in the UK struggle with reading and one in three adults do not regularly read for pleasure. England ranks 23rd out of 23 OECD nations for literacy level amongst 16–19-year-olds, and studies have shown that those who do read for pleasure have higher levels of self-esteem and a greater ability to cope with difficult situations.
For a full programme of events for National Crime Reading Month, go to www.crimereading.com and follow the conversation online #PickUpAPageTurner @The_CWA