Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Crime and Politics a Big Festival Draw

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Crime and Politics a Big Festival Draw

Article excerpt

Byline: David Whetstone Arts & Entertainment Editor

CRIME is normally considered a turn-off for tourists but put it in a book festival and that can change.

As Durham Book Festival gets under way this weekend, there is yet more evidence that theft, extortion and murder - especially murder - can pay, if you are a writer. Among festival events already sold out is a Saturday session hosted by celebrated crime writers Ann Cleeves and Linwood Barclay.

"Crime is always popular," observed festival publicist Laura Creyke.

The star of North East-based Ann Cleeves has risen with the success of Vera on ITV, inspired by her novels, while her Canadian counterpart got a leg-up from Richard and Judy who made his novel No Time for Goodbye their best summer read.

Another notable North East crime writer, Val McDermid, has been writing about pirates. A new stage adaptation of her children's book, My Granny is a Pirate, kicks off the weekend programme with a Saturday morning performance at Durham Town Hall.

Contrary to many polls, politicians are also popular - in Durham, at least.

Labour MP Alan Johnson will have a full house to hear him talk about his life story, This Boy, as will former Sunderland South MP Chris Mullin who will discuss Margaret Thatcher's legacy.

Other writers in Durham this weekend will be Labour peer Lord Adonis, who will offer an insight into the formation of the coalition government, Rachel Joyce, bestselling author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, sci-fi writer Stephen Baxter and comedian Mark Watson. …

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