Six hundred people flocked to London’s inaugural Capital Crime festival over the weekend with Ian Rankin scooping two awards at the Amazon Publishing Readers’ Awards.
Held at The Grand Connaught Rooms from the 26th to 28th September, a packed programme saw appearances from authors including Martina Cole, Lynda La Plante, Ann Cleeves, Mark Billingham, Don Winslow, Robert Glenister, Denise Mina, Abir Mukherjee and Robert Harris.
The 2019 Amazon Publishing Readers’ Awards were awarded on Saturday night with Rankin doing the double to win Best Mystery and Best Crime Novel with In A House of Lies (Orion). Booker longlisted Oyinkan Braithwaite and "Killing Eve" were also among the winners.
David Headley, who co-founded the festival with author Adam Hamdy, said: "Capital Crime exceeded all of my expectations. We have all been overwhelmed by the support and praise for our programme and venue. I am also delighted by the incredible book sales, with some authors saying that they had never signed so many books at a festival. I couldn’t have wished for a better start for our new festival."
The festival sold just over £14,000 worth of books through Goldsboro Books with nearly 600 people attending the event each day to enjoy a busy programme featuring panels discussing the influence of Agatha Christie, screen adaptations, crime fiction and feminism.
Martina Cole and Ali Karim discussed London as an iconic setting for the crime and thriller genre which saw Cole also take questions from the audience. Asked about working class writers in crime writing, Cole said: "I do think it's hard." She added: "I think we are hearing more working class voices because it's fashionable."
Elsewhere Rankin and Don Winslow were in conversation with Chi Chi Izundu to discuss the human cost of crime. The lively hour saw Rankin and Winslow praise the genre's authors for helping to champion other writers. "The thing I find with crime and thriller is everyone is really happy to help people up that ladder, a lot more so than other genres I think," said Rankin. "So many great writers spend a lot of their time and energy helping others, Lee Child, Val McDermid."
The festival also saw Ashley Harrison win the Capital Crime New Voices Award for The Dysconnect. In association with D H H Literary Agency, the award champions the next generation of talent in the crime and thriller community and gives entrants the chance to have three opening chapters of their debut novel read by agents, publishers and readers, who voted for their favourites. The Bookseller understands Harrison has now signed with D H H Literary Agency.