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Charlie Higson attends Harrogate crime writing festival today

18-Jul-2008 • Young Bond

The most eagerly-anticipated Harrogate crime writing festival yet kicks off today, with a weekend line-up featuring the writer behind the hit young James Bond series and more - reports the Harrogate Advertiser.

One of the main highlights of this year's festival is the visit today, Friday by Young Bond author Charlie Higson who will be discussing the work of Ian Fleming and his most celebrated creation in James Bond – The Spy We Loved (today 5pm-6pm)as part of a panel discussion hosted by Radio 4 regular Simon Brett at the festival's base in The Crown Hotel.

The festival got off to a great start with the announcement of winner of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award.

The Tenderness of Wolves, by Stef Penney, was chosen by the Theakston panel of judges against competition from 12 other best-selling top authors including Alexander McCall Smith, Peter Robinson and Mark Billingham.

The book, which is set in Canada in the 1860s, is also a former winner of top fiction prize the Costa Book of the Year Award.

Tickets to this year's Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival have been selling fast, with organisers hoping to build on the successes of the last few years which have catapulted the event to one of the biggest festivals of its kind.

Part of the Harrogate International Festival, the Crime Writing Festival is based at the Crown Hotel and runs until Sunday, with the International Festival events continuing until August 1.

Last year saw ticket sales rise by 30 per cent as more than 8,000 guests attended the festival, and this year could see the numbers rise even further with special guests including Robert Crais, Jefferey Deaver, Sam Bourne and Andy McNab, plus the now traditional appearance by noted BBC broadcaster and writer Mark Lawson.

Festival Director Sharon Canavar said: "There are some amazing special guests but I am personally looking forward to Andy McNab and Robert Crais.

"Andy McNab is the army's most decorated soldier and writes fascinating thrillers for adults and children alike. Robert Crais because he has written so many fascinating books and written for television series including Miami Vice, Cagney and Lacey and Hill Street Blues – they are both promising to be fascinating interviews for very different reasons."

The crime writing festival director said she was also looking forward to the event tomorrow featuring author Sam Bourne, AKA journalist and broadcaster Jonathan Freedland, who is a familar face from BBC 2's Late Review show.

"He's in conversation with Natasha Cooper, whose first novel The Righteous Men was a best seller. Named by the Financial Times recently as one of the world's most influential commentators he will have plenty of stories to tell."

James Bond – The Spy We Loved is today between 5pm-6pm (tickets £8), Robert Crais will appear tonight between 8-9pm (tickets £12) with Sam Bourne speaking at the festival tomorrow, July 19, between 5-6pm (tickets £8), Andy McNab following at 8.30pm (tickets £12) and Jefferey Deaver at 9pm (tickets £10).

One of tomorrow's highlights will interest those more fascinated by modern crime novels.

Four big name authors whose novels are set very firmly in the present discuss whether the proliferation of CCTV and the relentless advance of technology will stifle the modern crime writer, or whether it will enhance their stories.

It will take place from 12am-1pm, with tickets costing £8.

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