Newsletter Archive – CrimeFest 2023

Thursday, 13 April 2023.

Hi all,

We hope this finds you well!

This is the last newsletter prior to CrimeFest but, don’t worry, you can still REGISTER to attend! Read on…

In this newsletter:

– CRIMEFEST 2023/2024

Feeling a little shaken and stirred? It may not just be in anticipation of CrimeFest (just weeks away!) Because this year is the 70th anniversary of the publication of the first ever James Bond novel, Casino Royale.

And so, following on from Dick Francis last year, CrimeFest is pleased to announce that Ian Fleming is the Ghost of Honour at CrimeFest 2023.

This panel is licensed to thrill: Simon Brett returns as the Ghost host and is joined by Charlie Higson, Corinne Turner, and the first female author to officially join the ‘00’ universe, Kim Sherwood. Kim has been briefed by the Fleming Estate to expand the ‘00’ universe with a trilogy. The first, Double or Nothing, has three 00s trying to locate missing James Bond – 007.

Corinne Turner is the Managing Director (M?) of Ian Fleming Publications, in charge of the Fleming novels for the author’s estate. And CrimeFest welcomes back Charlie Higson, creator of the Young Bond series, with his first Bond novel for adults. Charlie, of course, was one of the writers on the comedy sketch, The Fast Show. In On His Majesty’s Secret Service, the world’s most famous secret agent meets the new British monarch on the eve of his coronation. It couldn’t get more topical! This latest continuation novel was especially commissioned for King Charles’ coronation, in aid of the National Literacy Trust.

We are honoured that Ian Fleming Publications is supporting this panel, and are also sponsoring CrimeFest’s Pre-Gala reception, which is open to all full pass holders.

Courtesy of Ian Fleming Publications, one newsletter subscriber has the chance to win their new edition of Casino Royale, as well as some 70th anniversary branded extras! Answer this – not so obvious question – what is James’ standard drink order in the Bond novels? Send your answer in the subject line, and your postal details in the body, of an email to The deadline to do so is 28 April.

We asked all newsletter goggleboxes to vote to establish a shortlist and winner for the best television crime drama based on a book first screened in the UK in 2022, and we have an exciting shortlist.

The award is named after Thalia Proctor, a much-loved and valued member of the CrimeFest team, and known and loved by many members of the crime writing community.

The nominees are:

– Babylon Berlin (series 4), based on the books by Volker Kutscher. Produced by X-Filme Creative Pool, ARD Degeto Film, Beta Film, Sky Deutschland, Westdeutscher Rundfunk. Shown on Sky Atlantic.
– Grace (series 2), based on the books by Peter James. Produced by ITV Studios. Shown on ITV.
– Karin Pirie, based on the books by Val McDermid. Produced by ITV Studios. Shown on ITV.
Magpie Murders, based on the books by Anthony Horowitz. Produced by Britbox and Eleventh Hour Films. Shown on BritBox.
– Reacher, based on the books by Lee Child. Produced by Amazon Studios, Blackjack Films, Paramount Television, and Skydance Television. Shown on Amazon Prime.
– Shetland (season 7), based on the books by Ann Cleeves. Produced by Silverprint Pictures. Shown on BBC.
– Slow Horses (seasons 1 & 2), based on the books by Mick Herron. Produced by See-Saw. Shown on Apple TV+.
– Vienna Blood (season 3), based on the books by Frank Tallis. Produced by Endor Productions, Seven.One Studios. Shown on BBC.

We are delighted to see some CrimeFest favourites on the list – we’re not telling (but two of them went head-to-head), but you will have to wait until the Gala Dinner to see who the winner is.

It is interesting to see that subscriber channels are included in the list, but we hope that some of their series will make it to terrestrial channels. Based on Thomas Perry’s novel, Disney +’s The Old Man, starring Jeff Bridges and John Lithgow, is a good example.

After a two-year, post-pandemic break, we have been focusing on getting CrimeFest up and running again. This means we have postponed organising the forensic excursion, Pitch-an-Agent, and our Crime Writing Day. However, we hope to bring some of these extracurricular activities back in 2024.

In the meantime, for those of you who are looking for a high-quality, in-depth writing course that fits around your busy schedule, there is the National Centre for Writing; designed in partnership with the prestigious creative writing school at the University of East Anglia and delivered by award-winning tutors and industry experts. Their aim is to help you develop the technical skills and routine to achieve your writing goals and provide you with a welcoming and supportive community of writers. They offer a variety of courses, and the next Start Writing Crime Fiction starts on 2 May. Start your journey to becoming the writer you want to be with the National Centre for Writing.

CrimeFest is delighted to announce that Crime Time FM will be the official podcaster of the convention. No, it won’t be the same as being there in person, but CTFM presenters Paul Burke and Victoria Selman, will offer you the next best thing with chats with authors and visitors to the festival, and more. Check Facebook or visit the Crime Time FM website.

CRIMEFEST 2023/2024
If you’re simply not willing to miss out on the thrills and spills we have lined up for you in Bristol, we’re pleased to say that it is still possible to REGISTER for a full pass to CrimeFest, providing access to all panels, interviews, and quizzes. Gala Dinner are also still available. Registered delegates are sent discount details for the convention and recommended overspill hotel.

Just added are a limited number of Friday and Saturday passes for those of you who can’t make it to all four days.

What’s more, delegates attending the 2023 CrimeFest are offered the lowest priced full 2024 CrimeFest pass during this year’s convention. The amended dates – announced in the last newsletter – for next year are 16-19 May.

Come on, you know you want to join us in May! Just check the itinerary if you need further persuasion, it’s going to be criminally good! CrimeFest is where you will inevitably meet old friends and make new ones.

Registered delegates will receive further emails with convention details, but this is the last newsletter before this year’s convention.

We look forward to welcoming you to the convention.

Be well and stay safe!

Adrian & Donna,
CrimeFest organisers.

Saturday, 18 March 2023.

Hi all,

We hope this finds you well!

It’s getting close to CrimeFest, and we have lots to tell you. So let’s dive right in:


It’s just a matter of days before our offer for CrimeFest Winter rates end. The cost of CrimeFest tickets go up on 31 March from the current winter rate of £175 to £200 for a Full Weekend Pass; and £55 to £65 for a ticket to the Gala Dinner. Prices for the discounted community tickets remain the same, but only a few remain. So, to avoid the price rises, hurry over to our new website and BUY TICKETS now! They make a criminally good (last minute Mothering Sunday) gift!

What’s that? Yes, a….

You may recall from the previous newsletter that the CrimeFest logo and Skeleton Bob had undergone a make-over. With thanks to Rob Garraway at Agile, Bob 2.0 has given the original (by Bill Selby) a facelift – no Botox required.

Following that refresh, the website has undergone a transformation as well. Clair Challenor-Chadwick at Cause UK came up with the exciting new concept, and it was impeccably implemented by Sue Trowbridge, our webmistress. We’re still snagging, so there will be some additions and minor amendments, but we hope you will like it..

And, if you are a registered delegate and your name does not appear on the website in the way you wish it to on your pass, let us know. You can check on the AUTHORS & DELEGATES page

And there are more reasons to hurry on over to the website (as soon as you’ve finished reading our newsletter, of course) because it includes details of our Featured Guests. Get your highlighter pens and diary at the ready (if you’re old school) as you’ll also find this year’s itinerary on the PROGRAMME page.

The first in the series, The Last Dance, is out on 25 May. Detective Miller is not only a detective, but a supposed dancer; what’s more it’s set on the Strictly-streets of Blackpool.

The Last Dance has already been praised as a mix of light and dark, bursting with wit, charm, and intrigue. We can’t wait to hear more from Mark. Who knows? Maybe he’ll bust out a few moves in the hotel bar? (Probably not, but we do want to know about that Andrew Lloyd Webber musical he once worked on!)

Elly Griffiths has got to be one of Britain’s hardest working authors: at least two adult crime novels a year, as well as the Girl Called Justice crime series for children.

Elly is also the recipient of the CWA Dagger in the Library (2016). She has a legion of fans addicted to her Dr Ruth Galloway series. Can it be true that this year’s The Last Remains may be the last of the books featuring the forensic archaeologist? We will dig for the truth and unearth the mystery (see what we did there), when she is interviewed at CrimeFest!

And then we have Peter Guttridge… the InQuizitor at our first pub quiz when we hosted Left Coast Crime back in 2006; moderator of panels; interviewer of guests; he has chaired every annual pub quiz since the first CrimeFest back in 2008. But shame on you if that is the only reason you know him! Seek out his hilarious, award-winning Nick Madrid crime books. And Peter G is currently giving Peter J – that would be James – a run for his money with his own Brighton mysteries. We thought it was high time to put Mr Guttridge in the spotlight as our Toastmaster!

As for our programme, Donna has once again, as always, found a way to inject fresh blood (not literally, that would be awful) into the panel topics by putting a slight twist on them, and mixing it up with new and well-established attending authors. All your favourites are back: Authors Remembered; Fresh Blood panels with debut authors; the CWA Dagger Shortlist reception, and two quizzes. Yes, of course, the pub quiz, but also Maxim Jakubowski’s Criminal Mastermind Quiz.

Visit the PROGRAMME page for more panel details.

Now, you can keep the Oscars, it’s time for the customary drum roll for the real awards, the eagerly awaited…

And here they are:

Best Crime Fiction Novel for Young Adults
This award is for the best crime novel for young adults (aged 12-16) first published in the United Kingdom in 2022.

The nominees are:
– Holly Jackson for Five Survive (Electric Monkey)
– Patrice Lawrence for Needle (Barrington Stoke)
– Finn Longman for The Butterfly Assassin (Simon & Schuster Children’s)
– Sophie McKenzie for Truth or Dare (Simon & Schuster Children’s)
– Ruta Sepetys for I Must Betray You (Hodder Children’s Books)
– Jonathan Stroud for The Notorious Scarlett and Browne (Walker Books)

Best Crime Fiction Novel for Children
This award is for the best crime novel for children (aged 8-12) first published in the United Kingdom in 2022.

The nominees are:
– Elly Griffiths for A Girl Called Justice: The Spy at the Window (Quercus Children’s Books)
– Anthony Horowitz for Where Seagulls Dare: A Diamond Brothers Case (Walker Books)
– Sharna Jackson for The Good Turn (Puffin)
– M.G. Leonard for Spark (Walker Books)
– Robin Stevens for The Ministry of Unladylike Activity (Puffin)
– Sarah Todd Taylor for Alice Éclair, Spy Extraordinaire! A Recipe for Trouble (Nosy Crow)

H.R.F. Keating Award
The H.R.F. Keating Award is for the best biographical or critical book related to crime fiction first published in the United Kingdom in 2022.
The award is named after H.R.F. ‘Harry’ Keating, one of Britain’s most esteemed crime novelists, crime reviewers and writer of books about crime fiction.

The nominees are:
– J.C. Bernthal & Mary Anna Evans for The Bloomsbury Handbook to Agatha Christie (Bloomsbury Academic)
– John le Carré (edited by Tim Cornwell) for A Private Spy: The Letters of John le Carré 1945-2020 (Viking)
– Martin Edwards for The Life of Crime: Detecting the History of Mysteries and their Creators (Collins Crime Club)
– Barry Forshaw for Simenon: The Man, The Books, The Films (Oldcastle Books)
– Sian MacArthur for Gender Roles and Political Contexts in Cold War Spy Fiction (Palgrave Macmillan)
– Lucy Worsley for Agatha Christie: A Very Elusive Woman (Hodder & Stoughton)

Last Laugh Award
The Last Laugh Award is for the best humorous crime novel first published in the United Kingdom in 2022.

The nominees are:
– Christopher Fowler for Bryant & May’s Peculiar London (Doubleday)
– Elly Griffiths for The Locked Room (Quercus)
– Mick Herron for Bad Actors (Baskerville)
– Cara Hunter for Hope to Die (Viking)
– Mike Ripley for Mr Campion’s Mosaic (Severn House)
– Antti Tuomainen for The Moose Paradox (Orenda Books)

(It is with great regret that the shortlist and winner for this award was established days before the passing of Christopher Fowler. He will be missed!)

eDunnit Award
The eDunnit Award is for the best crime fiction ebook first published in both hardcopy and in electronic format in the United Kingdom in 2022.

The nominees are:
– Chris Brookmyre for The Cliff House (Abacus)
– Michael Connelly for Desert Star (Orion Fiction)
– M.W. Craven for The Botanist (Constable)
– Sara Gran for The Book of the Most Precious Substance (Faber & Faber)
– Ian Rankin for A Heart Full of Headstones (Orion Fiction)
– Peter Swanson for Nine Lives (Faber & Faber)

Specsavers Debut Crime Novel Award
for a crime novel by debut author first published in the United Kingdom in 2022.
Courtesy of our headline sponsor Specsavers, the winning author receives a £1,000 prize

The nominees are:
– Amen Alonge for A Good Day to Die (Quercus)
– Graham Bartlett for Bad for Good (Allison & Busby)
– Nita Prose for The Maid (HarperCollins)
– Oriana Rammuno (translator: Katherine Gregor) for Ashes in the Snow (HarperCollins)
– Joachim B. Schmidt (translator: Jamie Lee Searle) for Kalmann (Bitter Lemon)
– Hayley Scrivenor for Dirt Town (Macmillan)
– John Sutherland for The Siege (Orion Fiction)
– Stacy Willingham for A Flicker in the Dark (HarperCollins)

All winners, who receive a Bristol Blue Glass commemorative award, will be announced at the Gala Dinner on Saturday, 13 May. BUY TICKETS while they are still available.

Congratulations to all the nominees!

One award where a shortlist and winner is still to be established – by you! – is for the Thalia Proctor Memorial Award for Best Adapted TV Crime Drama.

This award is for the best television crime drama based on a book, and first screened in the UK in 2022.

The award is named after Thalia Proctor, a true fan of crime fiction and drama. Thalia worked in specialist bookshops, and went on to work with many crime writers in publishing. She was a much-loved and valued member of the CrimeFest team, and known and loved by many members of the crime writing community.

Eligible titles were collated from the Radio Times. To vote visit the CRIME DRAMA AWARD page, where you can opt in for the prize draw for a complimentary pass to 2023 or 2024’s CrimeFest, as well as a selection of Region 2 DVDs. (Please note that, unless your BluRay or DVD player is region free, the discs are unlikely to work on players outside of Europe).

The deadline to vote is 31 March.

With that nod to CrimeFest 2024, please note that, contrary to previously tentative dates of 9-12 May, next year CrimeFest will be held from 16-19 May.

We have been informed that the Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel still has room availability for all nights (although for some nights availability is limited). Registered delegates should have received an email with the discount codes for both the convention hotel and the Clayton, the recommended overspill hotel (less than a minute’s stroll down the road.)

For details of suggested budget hotels visit our FAQ page on the new website.

And finally…

Maxim Jakubowski, one of the éminences grises of crime fiction, and long-time admirer of Cornell Woolrich’s writing, has brought together a wide range of fellow enthusiasts for a collection of new short stories inspired by Woolrich. Black is the Night includes contributions by familiar names and such luminaries as A.K. Benedict, Mason Cross, Martin Edwards, Samantha Lee Howe, Susi Holliday, Vaseem Khan, Joe R. Landsdale, James Sallis, and Maxim himself. Another contributor is Donna Moore… Yes, our Donna! And for her entry she has been nominated for an Edgar Award, the (other) Oscars of crime writing! The CrimeFest team couldn’t be prouder, and we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed when she attends the ceremony in New York on 27 April.

With so many of the contributors attending CrimeFest, the springboard for this year’s short story panel will be Black is the Night and Woolrich, who was one of the best short-story writers of the genre. And, to celebrate the collection, we are giving away one copy to anyone who enters the draw and who can answer with the original short story titles that were the inspiration for the films Rear Window (UK / US) and Cloak & Dagger (US).

Send your entry to with Woolrich in the subject line and the names of the short story titles in the body. The deadline to do so is 31 March.

That’s it for now. Be well and stay safe!

Adrian & Donna,
CrimeFest organisers.