Screams aplenty at Verbal Arts Killer Books festival

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The Verbal Arts Centre will be transformed into one mammoth crime scene for its Killer Books Crime Festival as part of Derry’s Hallowe’en celebrations this year.

The festival, which is supported by Easons and is part of the City of Culture’s Disobey Gravity programme, will bring in some of the biggest names in crime literature – including world-renowned author Lee Child – as well as a packed weekend of murder mystery and suspense.

Crime writers from across the UK will descend on the Verbal Arts Centre for a packed weekend of readings and events and experts from major publishing houses will be on hand to seek out the next Agatha Christie.

Authors such as Gerard Brennan, Colin Bateman, Clare McGowan and Des Doherty will join the likes of Alan Glynn, Andrew Pepper, William Ryan and Stuart Neville Blooms for a weekend of workshops, readings and talks.

Local crime author Brian McGilloway who has worked closely with Verbal in putting together the festival programme will also launch his latest novel ‘Hurt’ at the festival.

Families will be able to enjoy the Verbal CSI Lab – exploring fingerprinting, experiments and even slime – and take part in a spooky Murder Mystery night on the city’s Walls as well as a Derry Victorian Crime Ghost Tour. Mini sleuths will be able to join the Verbal Detective Agency and fight crime. There will be crime film screenings, interactive crime fighting, Sherlock Holmes storytelling, mug shot corners and treasure hunts.

For the older crime fans there will be talks by pathologists, psychologists and forensic experts and a special Secret Cinema screening of an old crime movie.

Verbal Group Chief Executive James Kerr said the Killer Books Festival would bring crime book afficionados from across Ireland to the city.

“We have a wealth of crime writing talent coming to us for the Killer Books festival,” he said.

“We are delighted that crime writing heavyweight Lee Child will join us alongside some of the finest crime writers in the UK. We have also brought together leading literary agents to allow budding local crime authors the chance to pitch their work. We are also delighted that Easons has come on board as one of the main sponsors of this new festival”.

“It has been a privilege to work with Brian McGilloway - he and the team at Verbal have put together a fantastic programme. We are expecting a big audience to come through our doors over the weekend to enjoy the packed programme of events. They will not be disappointed. There will be something for everyone.”

Local crime writer Brian McGilloway, who is curating the festival, said that he was hugely excited about the event.

“We’ve an incredible line up of guests,” he said. “From international bestseller, Lee Child – whose book is sold every four seconds somewhere on the planet - to the finest Irish crime fiction authors. Many of our guests have had their work translated to both small and big screen and have won prizes around the world. Whether you like darkest noir, CSI or cosy crime, there’s something for everyone in the programme. It would be a crime to miss it.”