Two crime festivals and an interview with Jo Nesbo

Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Harrogate, takes place this year from 22 to 25 July. In partnership with HarperCollins and Alibi (the TV channel), the festival has announced a competition "to unearth some of the country's hottest new crime-writing talent" by asking contestants to write a crime fiction short story of between 2,000 and 5,000 words long. The first line of the story has been provided by author Stuart MacBride, chairman of this year's festival: "In my experience, those who beg for mercy seldom deserve it." Three finalists will win tickets to Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival (with travel and accommodation included), and the winner will be announced during the weekend. The first prize is a Sony e-reader, a library of 100 crime books including a signed Stuart MacBride back catalogue, and an online, downloadable e-edition of their story published by HarperCollins. The deadline for entries is 16 May; more details and instructions for submission can be accessed from the Alibi website. A list of the authors so far attending Harrogate this year can be found here: among them are Neil Cross, Ann Cleeves, Yrsa Sigurdadottir (the only "translated" author on the list so far), Gene Kerrigan, Frances Fyfield, Martin Edwards, Ariana Franklin, Barry Norman, David Levien and many others including Ian Rankin and Karin Slaughter.

Another crime-writing festival will be held in the UK later this year at Reading, on 16-19 September. This is the third annual Reading event, and an extra day has been added to the programme this year. The festival has a new website and you can follow the organisers on Twitter to receive news of which authors sign up to attend. Already confirmed include Val McDermid, Christopher Brookmyre, Lindsey Davis, Susanna Gregory, Paul Doherty, Malcolm Pryce, M. C. Beaton, Mark Mills and Andrew Taylor.

A slight change of subject – hot on the heels of yesterday's post about "Nordic noir" comes a link from Dave Lull to a PW Q/A format interview with Jo Nesbo (creator of Harry Hole and an author blessed with a superb translator, Don Bartlett) on just that topic.  A sample question and answer:

"Do you think it’s fair that Norwegian and Swedish crime fiction is often lumped together as “Scandinavian”?

It may not seem this way for outsiders, since there are cultural, demographic, and geographical similarities in the stories, but I think the voices are very different. I actually feel more related to the American hard-boiled crime novel than the Scandinavian crime novel, whatever that is. But since “Scandinavian crime fiction” seems to have become a trademark for quality, being a Norwegian writer is not a bad starting point."

Jo Nesbo also reveals that he may consider having his first two Harry Hole novels, The Batman and Cockroaches, translated into English (and why this hasn't been done before).