I know it’s still early days and people are cautious (rightly so) but when I heard that #Harrogate will be back in July my heart soared – finally something to look forward to after everything that has happened in the last 12 months. My hotel is booked, I’m waiting patiently for my jabs, and I’m hoping that I may finally get to see my #booktribe after what has been a very unsettling and emotionally draining year.
The world-renowned Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival has announced that it will go ahead later this year, after the Government unveiled its roadmap out of lockdown.
Taking place in Harrogate, from 22-25 July – well after expected lifting of restrictions on 21 June – the Festival will celebrate a return to live events after a difficult and uncertain year for Harrogate International Festivals. Forced to cancel the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, alongside their wider summer season in 2020, the arts charity moved online, welcoming new audiences and taking the experience of ‘Harrogate’ to the world.
The return to a live event, announced on social media yesterday, was well received by audiences, with over 80% of early ticket bookers for the 2020 Festival having already transferred their tickets to 2021.
After the lockdown saw a soar in popularity of the genre in the bestseller charts, as more and more readers turned their fiction interests to crime, the 2021 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, supported by T & R Theakston, will celebrate crime fiction in all its kinds, with a programme curated by Programming Chair Ian Rankin alongside the acclaimed Festival Committee and the Harrogate International Festivals team.
Chief Executive of Harrogate International Festivals, Sharon Canavar, said: ‘‘Whilst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be extremely dynamic with rules and regulations changing constantly, the Government Roadmap suggested a return to normal by this Summer. We are adapting and evolving our plans to be able to deliver a safe and agile Festival in line with the government regulations at the time, with additional safety measures where necessary, whilst also ensuring the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival retains the iconic feel that has ensured its place as the most successful crime writing festival in the world.
We remain optimistic about the year ahead and like people across the UK, we are very much looking forward to the return of live events.”
Festival fans can expect a range of live author talks, panels and special guests, as well as some hybrid events to ensure that audiences who are unable to travel can access the Festival, bringing the power of literature to all in 2021.
The full author line-up, and ticket on sale dates for the Festival will be announced in the coming months. More information can be found at harrogateinternationalfestivals.com which will be updated regularly.