Scarborough’s Books by the Beach: first look at line up

Commemorating the anniversaries of Magna Carta and the Battle of Waterloo, chills in Scarborough Prison, Hercules Poirot in the Town Hall, murder on Strictly Come Dancing, and Sex in the library – these are just

some of the treats in store in this year’s Books By The Beach.

Ann Widdecombe

Ann Widdecombe

The Scarborough Book Festival will run from Wednesday April 15 to Sunday April 19.

Heather French and Peter Guttridge, co-directors of the event, returning for a second year, have revealed some (but not all) details of the programme for this April’s follow-up festival.

“We’re putting the finishing touches to a few events – such as the one in Scarborough’s Victorian prison - but we’re pretty much there,” said Heather.

The festival guests whose names they have revealed include several major crime writers: multi-million selling crime novelist Peter James will be discussing the stage versions of several of his Roy Grace novels.

Psychological thriller writer Sophie Hannah will be hosting a Poirot Dinner in the Town Hall to link with her new Hercule Poirot novel, The Monogram Murders; and S J Watson will be discussing Second Life, his follow-up to worldwide bestseller Before I Go To Sleep, with novelist Louise Doughty, whose own foray into crime fiction, Apple Tree Yard, was a major success last year.

Peter Guttridge, a crimewriter and crime fiction critic,said: ‘It’s great to have writers of such calibre coming to Scarborough and we’re pleased to be following a long tradition of great crime fiction

events in the town. However, we have a lot of other kinds of events too.”

Even so, Ann Widdecombe, former MP best know these days for her appearance on Strictly Come Dancing, will also be appearing to discuss her debut crime novel, Dancing Detective – set, naturally, in the world of a televised dance competition.

This year marks the anniversary of two major events in British history – the signing of Magna Carta by King John in 1215 and the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 – and Books By The Beach will be remembering both.

One of the coups of the festival is an event with Helen Boaden, director of BBC, Radio, focussing on radio and storytelling.

“We’re also thrilled that all our partnerships from last year are continuing,” said Heather.

Local sponsors include Boyes and Wold Top Brewery. “Bestseller Beer is back,” Heather said.

“But there’s also a competition in the pipeline linked to a “literary beer” that we’ll be announcing soon.

“Once again the festival wouldn’t be possible without the support in kind of the town council and the county council library service,” Peter

Guttridge said.

“The majority of events will take place in the library’s magnificent concert hall but once again we’ll be using the Town Hall and the Prison – plus another unlikely but very exciting venue we’ll be

talking about soon.”

“We were so pleased with the support we received for last year’s festival we’ve tried to make this one even better,’ Heather French said.

“Fingers crossed that we have succeeded! As for Sex in the Library – all will be revealed - so to speak.”