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Lynda La Plante and James Lee Burke Join 2024 CrimeFest Headline Acts

Lynda La Plante. Photo by Gemma Day.

CrimeFest - the UK’s biggest crime fiction convention - has announced two iconic crime writers will feature at its 2024 event: Lynda La Plante and James Lee Burke. Both are co-recipients of the prestigious 2024 Crime Writers' Association's (CWA) Diamond Dagger Award, which was announced this January.

The pair join Denise Mina and Laura Lippman as featured guests for 2024. CrimeFest, sponsored by Specsavers, is hosted from 9 to 12 May 2024 at the Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel. Up to 150 authors will descend on Bristol appearing in over 50 panels.

Adrian Muller, co-host of CrimeFest, said: “Each year, CrimeFest invites the CWA Diamond Dagger winner as a featured guest. This is the first time in the CWA’s 70-year history that two authors received the Diamond Dagger, so it is a real honour to be able to host both.”

Lynda La Plante will be interviewed by the author and chair of the CWA Daggers’ committee, Maxim Jakubowski, at the event.

Lynda La Plante CBE began her career as an actor in TV and theatre. The BAFTA-winning Prime Suspect was released in 1991, starring Helen Mirren as DCI Jane Tennison. As well as a career as a bestselling author, La Plante set up her own television production company, La Plante Productions, and a global rights and production company, La Plante Global. Her current book series features Detective Jack Warr. She received a CBE for services to Literature, Drama and Charity in 2008.

Adrian said: “Lynda La Plante is a true icon, and trailblazer of the genre, particularly for women not just in publishing but in TV, thanks to the ground-breaking Prime Suspect, starring Helen Mirren. She is rare in that not only does she create and produce major TV shows, she also writes hugely successful novels.”

La Plante is set to publish her final book in the young Tennison series, alongside a memoir, detailing her career as an actress, television, and crime writer in 2024.

James Lee Burke. Photo by Deborah Feingold.

James Lee Burke will take part remotely in a live interview from America with the chair of the CWA, the crime author, Vaseem Khan. Commenting on James Lee Burke’s Diamond Dagger award, Vasem Khan said: “His prose is often considered among the best to have graced the genre.”

Born in Houston in 1936, James Lee Burke’s first novel was compared to the work of Faulkner and Sartre by the New York Times. Despite this, he was out of hardback print for 13 years until his third novel, The Lost Get-Back Boogie was published and submitted for a Pulitzer Prize, after being rejected over 111 times. Over the years, he has taught at universities, worked as a case worker with former felons, as a pipeliner for an oil company, a long-distance truck driver, and a newspaper reporter.

James Lee Burke has two Edgar Awards, a Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America, and has been a Guggenheim Fellow. 

CrimeFest has a strong relationship with the CWA – as well as interviewing its Diamond Dagger winners, the convention hosts the annual reception announcing the CWA Dagger nominations each year. 2024’s line-up also includes Simon Brett, who received a Diamond Dagger in 2014, and will host a panel in tribute to PD James, who was awarded the Diamond Dagger in 1987.

CrimeFest is a convention for people who like to read an occasional crime novel as well as for die-hard fanatics. Drawing top crime novelists, readers, editors, publishers and reviewers from around the world, it gives all delegates the opportunity to celebrate the genre in a friendly, informal and inclusive atmosphere.

CrimeFest offers discounts for librarians, students, and delegates who are on benefits and/or disabled.


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