Amongst attendees were Vaseem Khan, now earning a huge following with his stories about Inspector Chopra and his crime-solving elephant and is tipped as the new Alexander McCall Smith.
Europe’s biggest celebration of the crime genre, the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in partnership with HW Fisher & Company, invited 50 authors and publishing professionals to its ‘New Blood’ reception in London last week.
The event was hosted by leading crime writers Mark Billingham, author of the Tom Thorne series, and David Mark, creator of the hit DS McAvoy series of crime fiction books.
Alongside Vaseem Khan, David Mark highlighted Anja De Jager, Mark Hardie and Abir Mukherjee as ones to watch – authors who were also in attendance at the event.
Gemma Rowland, Literature Festivals Manager at Harrogate International Festivals – the arts charity that delivers the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival – said: “As well as celebrating the best crime writers around, the Festival is also about introducing new writers to crime fans, presenting the valuable opportunity to discover new talent. Every year, Val McDermid picks four debut novels for her New Blood panel at the Festival in July and we host other initiatives such as Creative Thursday – a day-long event of writing workshops for new writers. This event in London aims to build on the Festival’s legacy of supporting new talent. It’s one that we plan to build on next year.”
Val McDermid’s 2016 New Blood authors for the July Festival have been announced as Martin Holmen for Clinch, JS Law for Tenacity, Beth Lewis for The Wolf Road and Abir Mukherjee, author of A Rising Man.
Beth Lewis and James Law also attended the London event, alongside representatives from Little Brown Book Group, Orion, Headline, Penguin Random House, Scribe Publishers, Hodder and Quercus.
David Mark, who was one of Val McDermid’s New Blood picks at the 2012 crime festival, said: “The Festival is the most important in the literary calendar for the crime genre. I was incredibly excited, and proud, to be one of the New Blood authors chosen by Val. It was part of the whirlwind that led me to being signed in Germany, Greece, Spain, Turkey and America. I know how much it means when you’re starting out to not only get that recognition and platform, but the support of veteran crime authors, which is why I felt honoured, and delighted, to co-host this inaugural London New Blood celebration.”
Andrew Subramaniam, partner and head of the Authors and Journalists team at HW Fisher & Company, said: “We were delighted to host the ‘New Blood’ reception at our offices and continue our long standing sponsorship of new crime writing talent. It was marvellous to see so many familiar and new faces at the reception and we look forward to attending and supporting the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate in July.”
Sam Eades, senior commissioning editor and associate publicist at Orion, said: “New Blood is a fantastic initiative, and of course spotting the next big thing in publishing is crucially important for the industry.”
Val McDermid’s New Blood panel takes place at 12pm on Saturday 23 July at the Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate during the 14th Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. Special Guests include Jeffery Deaver, Martina Cole, Neil Cross, Tess Gerritsen, Gerald Seymour and Linwood Barclay. 2016’s Programming Chair is Peter James. For the full programme, visit: www.harrogateinternationalfestivals.com