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Crime Story investigates the facts behind the fiction

24th February 2015

A unique series of events will offer readers and writers of crime fiction expert insight into the mysterious world of crime. From facial mapping to forensics, Crime Story will provide the facts behind the fiction.  

Launched as a two-day festival in 2014, Crime Story is back this spring as a series of open seminars at Northumbria University, Newcastle. Over seven sessions, experts in law, forensics and criminology will debunk some of the myths about criminal behaviour, explain how the prison system really works, and bring crime fans up to date with the latest technology in catching perpetrators.  

Writers who are wondering how to make their plots true to life and readers who have ever shaken their heads in disbelief at a particularly contrived storyline are sure to find plenty of inspiration from the experts.  

Devised in partnership by New Writing North and Northumbria University, Crime Story brings together people from two different worlds – often with surprising results.  

“One of the biggest revelations last year was how the sessions seemed to change the direction writers were heading with their novel, or provide inspiration for plot lines and stories they had never considered,” says Anna Disley, programme director of New Writing North. “I have never seen so many writers scribbling down notes.”  

“When we created Crime Story, we were really piloting a new idea of bringing experts in the field to inform the work of crime writers. We were thrilled with the success of last year’s event and are really pleased to be working with Northumbria University to build on this unique concept, which writers and readers seem to love.”  

Professor Peter Francis, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching), Northumbria University, will be leading one of the sessions. “Northumbria has one of the largest criminology programmes in the country, as well as a wealth of interdisciplinary expertise in teaching and researching crime spanning criminology, criminal law, forensic science and creative writing,” says Peter. “By working in collaboration with New Writing North we are able to share this expertise directly with the crime fiction community, creating opportunities for writers and fans to delve into the theory, practice and facts behind the drama and fiction.”    

“For myself and my colleagues at Northumbria, it’s also incredibly exciting to know that we may be helping to shape the work of the next Ann Cleeves or Val McDermid, as the North continues to produce some of the most successful contemporary crime fiction.”  

Sessions run on Wednesdays at 5-7pm from 11 March 2015. You can book one session or the whole series. Tickets and more information are available through the website  

To find out more about Criminology, Law, Forensic Science and Creative Writing at Northumbria, visit



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