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Watching the Detectives: Crime Story 2016

16th March 2016

Tickets are now on sale for a unique festival offering crime fiction writers and readers a unique insight into real-life criminal investigation.

Crime Story 2016 takes place at Northumbria University, Newcastle on 11 June and brings together experts from diverse fields to separate the fact and fiction.

Paula Hawkins (2) - To Embed (1)Detectives, forensic scientists, lawyers and pathologists, including experts from the University, will guide crime writers and readers through the investigative process as they attempt to solve a fictional crime. This year’s crime has been written exclusively for the festival by Paula Hawkins, the bestselling author of The Girl on the Train, who attended the event herself before her literary breakthrough.

More than 20 crime experts are taking part in this year’s festival, including a Home Office pathologist, a DCI specialising in homicide, kidnap and extortion, and a forensic mental health nurse who has worked with some of the most dangerous offenders in the UK. Other experts specialise in the examination of textile fibre evidence and the use of mobile phone data for assisting police enquiries.

In a series of panel events, delegates are guided through the practices of police and forensic investigations and the legal process. But Crime Story is not simply about setting the facts straight. Delegates can also choose from a range of in-depth discussions, including from Northumbria academics, on victim behaviour, mentally disordered criminals, and the contemporary prison experience, all of which will inspire the ways characters are written and understood.

Crime Story also offers workshops with award-winning crime writers Andrew Hankinson and Mari Hannah, and an exclusive event with Paula Hawkins. Creative writing sessions are complemented by industry insight from Oli Munson, a literary agent with AM Heath, and Catherine Richards, an editor for Pan Macmillan, both of whom are also offering free one-to-one surgeries. Crime Story is a biennial festival, presented in partnership by New Writing North and Northumbria University. The festival first took place in 2014, where Paula Hawkins was one of the delegates, before her phenomenal rise to success.

Paula Hawkins said: "I attended Crime Story in June 2014 on a whim: I thought the concept sounded interesting – a group of crime writers and readers get together to try to solve a fictional murder aided by a handful of experts – detectives, forensic specialists and legal experts. I expected to have an entertaining weekend, I didn’t expect to walk away with ten A4 pages crammed with detailed notes covering all aspects of police procedure, and a head brimming with new ideas.”

“Crime Story gives writers the kind of access to senior detectives, blood-spatter experts and forensic psychiatrists that most of us could only dream about. I found it fascinating and invaluable and have been looking forward to the next one ever since, so am absolutely thrilled to have been asked to come up with a murder scenario for this year’s event. "

Lucy Winskell OBE, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Business and Engagement), of Northumbria University said: “Delivered in partnership by Northumbria and New Writing North, Crime Story draws on the University’s teaching and research expertise across criminology, criminal law, forensic science and creative writing, to explore the facts behind the fiction.

“Bestselling author Paula Hawkins’ involvement in this year’s event is hugely exciting news and a real endorsement of this innovative festival’s appeal to writers, readers, academics and professionals in the field. Paula has written a fascinating and compelling whodunit for our experts and audience members to investigate during the course of this unique day-long festival.”

Claire Malcolm, Chief Executive of New Writing North, said: “We are very proud of the innovative Crime Story concept. Our first festival in 2014 had fantastic feedback from both crime writers and readers and really seems to catch people’s imagination, so it’s with great excitement that we announce this year’s programme. Crime Story is made possible because of our creative and collaborative partnership with Northumbria University, which is just as innovative in its own way.”

The full programme and tickets are now available at www.crimestory.co.uk. Northumbria offers a range of courses for students across criminology, forensics, law, psychology and creative writing. For more information about studying at the University go to: www.northumbria.ac.uk

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