Harrogate International Festivals, in partnership with Pan Macmillan, presents The Big Read, the North’s most anticipated literary event of the year. From June 26th to 30th, book lovers across Yorkshire and the North East will gather in libraries to celebrate literacy and pay homage to the legacy of crime fiction’s greatest writers.

Led by the esteemed 2023 Reader in Residence, Luca Veste, The Big Read aims to bring people together, fostering a sense of community and promoting the joy of reading. The event will feature discussions centred around Ann Cleeves’ gripping crime novel, The Long Call, with Veste visiting eight libraries from Sheffield to Hartlepool.

On Wednesday, June 28th at 7pm, City Library in Bradford will play host to this literary extravaganza, attracting readers eager to engage in stimulating conversations about crime fiction and its diverse themes. Luca Veste, an acclaimed crime fiction author himself, will share his insights, making this event a must-attend for both seasoned crime fiction enthusiasts and newcomers to the genre.

Harrogate International Festivals has generously provided 1,500 free copies of The Long Call across the eight participating libraries and Harrogate library. This initiative aims to ensure that every visitor has the opportunity to immerse themselves in the captivating world created by Ann Cleeves. Cleeves, the inaugural Reader-in-Residence at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival between 2003 and 2009, has firmly established herself as a leading figure in the genre. Her novel, The Long Call, was longlisted for the prestigious Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award in 2020 and remains a highly regarded title among crime fiction enthusiasts.

Luca Veste, known for his gripping crime novels such as You Never Said Goodbye and The Bone Keeper, brings his wealth of knowledge and passion for the genre to The Big Read. He is also recognised as the host of the popular podcast, ‘Two Crime Writers and a Microphone,’ and co-founder of the Locked In festival. Veste’s multifaceted talent extends beyond writing, as he also plays the bass guitar in the band The Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers.

Sharon Canavar, Chief Executive at Harrogate International Festivals, emphasised the numerous benefits of reading, stating, “Reading is proven to reduce stress, exercise the brain and enhance relaxation. The Big Read is a great opportunity to connect people over the love of reading, offering the opportunity for like-minded people to get together and make new friends. The event is also a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of local library services.”

Ann Cleeves OBE, an acclaimed author in her own right, expressed her delight at the readers’ involvement in The Big Read, saying, “As Harrogate’s first reader in residence, I was determined that readers should be at the heart of the festival. Twenty years later, I’m absolutely delighted that reading groups throughout the north of England will be reading The Long Call, and that Luca Veste will be championing readers in my original role.”

Luca Veste, as the 2023 Reader in Residence, expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to take the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival on tour with The Big Read. Veste recognises the invaluable role of local libraries in communities and is thrilled to engage with both new and seasoned crime fiction fans.

Make sure to visit your local library and collect a complimentary copy of The Long Call to join the North’s biggest book club. The Big Read 2023 schedule is as follows:

  • Sheffield Central Library: Monday, June 26th, 11am
  • Dodworth Library: Monday, June 26th, 3pm
  • Hemsworth Library: Tuesday, June 27th, 11am
  • Ripon Library: Wednesday, June 28th, 11am
  • City Library, Bradford: Wednesday, June 28th, 7pm
  • Northallerton Library: Thursday, June 29th, 3pm
  • Blaydon Library: Friday, June 30th, 11am
  • Community Hub Central, Hartlepool: Friday, June 30th, 3pm

Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of crime fiction, connect with fellow book enthusiasts, and discover the wonders of The Big Read.