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Crime Story 2020

27th February 2020

A series of events for crime fiction fans will take place at Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle this spring, bringing together people from the two very different worlds of fact and fiction.

From the ‘beautiful dead girl’ trope to racism in the police force, authors and experts will discuss the topical issues which often come to light through crime fiction.

Across the three events, celebrated writers AA Dhand, Oliver Harris, Jessica Moor, Judith O’Reilly and Mim Skinner will be paired with experts who will offer unique insight into how such contemporary issues are dealt with in real life.

Experts taking part in Crime Story include three Northumbria University academics - Dr Nicci MacLeod, a forensic linguist, who has written on women in the criminal justice system; Professor Mike Rowe, a criminologist who specialises in policing culture and reforms; and Professor Lars Holmquist, an internationally-leading researcher in human-computer interaction.

Crime Story has taken place three times as a biennial festival, presented in partnership by New Writing North and Northumbria University's Institute of Humanities, with support from BBC Newcastle. A podcast inspired by Crime Story is now being developed by BBC Newcastle and is due to launch on BBC Sounds in Summer 2020.

Katy Shaw, Professor of Contemporary Writings at Northumbria University, said: “Crime Story unites research excellence from across our university – in Literature and Creative Writing, Criminology, AI and Policing Studies – to offer innovative approaches to the ways in which writers craft the crimes of our times. The involvement of BBC Sounds means that audience members at our live events will have the opportunity to take part in something that reaches far beyond the realms of the region, and taps into global issues of crime and technology today.”

Claire Malcolm, Founding Chief Executive of New Writing North said: “It's fantastic to be building on our relationship with Northumbria University and BBC Newcastle to expand the Crime Story events in new ways and to reach new audiences with our unique perspective on the facts behind the fictions.”

The first event of this year's festival takes place this Saturday 29 February, 2pm-3pm at Alphabetti Theatre and will feature author AA Dhand, Northumbria's Professor Mike Rowe and DS Mick Paterson, a detective in Northumbria Police for 30 years, where he heads up the Complex Case Unit. The event will be chaired by Professor Katy Shaw.

For more information, a full programme and to book tickets, visit  

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