Hachette’s c.e.o. designate David Shelley is stepping down from the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival’s programming committee after seven years, due to work demands. His place will be filled by Julia Wisdom, publisher for HarperFiction’s crime and thriller list.
Wisdom will join authors Val McDermid, Steve Mosby and NJ Cooper and agent Jane Gregory on the committee, with this year’s “reader-in-residence" Mari Hannah. The programming chair rotates annually and in 2018 will be author Lee Child.
Shelley will retain a link with Harrogate International Festivals, by becoming a Future 50 vice president, working on the Future 50 fundraising scheme to secure its future.
Harrogate International Festivals c.e.o. Sharon Canavar said: “The reputation as the best crime writing festival in the world is a large part in thanks to our dedicated programming committee of industry experts. David’s expertise, professionalism and commitment has been integral to our success and we would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to David.” She added: "We are thrilled that Julia Wisdom will be joining the committee with her wealth of experience and passion for the genre.”
Shelley said: “I have had a fantastic seven years on the Harrogate committee and have been so thrilled to see the Festival go from strength to strength. It speaks volumes about Sharon Canavar and her exceptional team, the amazing programming chairs we have been so lucky to have, as well as the incredible vibrancy of crime and thriller writing. It is a genre really close to my heart and I feel that crime fiction is now starting to be treated with the respect by critics and prize committees that it deserves.”
He added: “I am so pleased that Julia is taking my place and can think of no one more experienced or dedicated to crime fiction. I am looking forward to attending many future Harrogate’s as a punter and seeing the Festival continue to flourish.'
Wisdom said: “I have been a huge fan of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival since it started 15 years ago. It's always attracted a truly remarkable range of writers from around the world, as well as actors, journalists and industry specialists, amongst others, and has grown in international importance year on year. Of course, I am also a passionate reader of crime fiction and thrillers and am much looking forward to contributing to the programming discussions.”
The Theakston Old Peculier Festival was co-founded in 2003 by Val McDermid and literary agent Jane Gregory with the arts charity Harrogate International Festivals. 2018 will mark its 16th crime writing festival.
Arts body Harrogate International Festivals is aiming to raise £1m to safeguard its future.