London's inaugural Capital Crime festival launched last night (Monday 17th June) with British Book Award winner Louise Candlish and Mark Edwards.
Festival founders David Headley and Adam Hamdy hope to welcome around 1,600 guests to the festival in September with plans already in the works for 2020.
Speaking at the launch at the Grand Connaught Rooms, Hamdy said: "We hope it will become the world's biggest celebration of the crime genre."
Appearing on stage in conversation with Radio 2 Book Club producer Joe Haddow, Candlish, who won the Fiction Crime & Thriller Book of the Year award at this year's Nibbies for Our House (Simon & Schuster), and The Magpies (Thomas & Mercer) author Edwards discussed the appeal of the crime genre.
Candlish said: "It's a form of escapism that's very satisfying. We are living in uncertain times and I'm sure there is a link between what we are living through and what we are writing."
Edwards added: "In real life the crime doesn't always get solved. With crime novels you get that satisfying ending with a twist to make readers think something interesting is going to happen after the end of the book."
As well as Candlish and Edwards, the huge line-up includes more than 100 authors such as Martina Cole, Kate Mosses, Lynda La Plante and Ian Rankin, with more names due to be announced.
Capital Crime will take place at the Grand Connaught Rooms from the 26th to 28th September 2019, with tickets available here. The winner of the New Voices Award, sponsored by Amazon Publishing, will be revealed on the Saturday.
More than 40 panels are planned across the event, featuring debut authors and established names. Panels will include Billingham putting through his paces by experienced police interrogator Graham Bartlett and Rankin discussing The Human Cost of Crime with Don Winslow. Debut crime and thriller writers will go head to head for quiz panel Whose Crime is it Anyway? Festival co-founder Hamdy will also be on stage building a book.
Dubbed a "diverse, inclusive and socially responsible festival", Capital Crime is also running initiatives including social outreach to support students exploring a literary career as well as an innovative digital festival in October.