I joined the board of the Crime Writers’ Association last year and in September they asked me to look after National Crime Reading Month (NCRM) which is scheduled for this June. It is an initiative with huge potential designed to celebrate the genre and get the nation reading, and I like nothing better than a challenge!
This year it has a revitalised website and social media hashtag #PickUpAPageTurner, and is running in collaboration with national reading charity, The Reading Agency. I’ve approached a host of bestselling authors as regional ambassadors across the British Isles and Ireland, including Steve Cavanagh, MW Craven, Elly Griffiths, Alis Hawkins, Anthony Horowitz, Vaseem Khan, Nadine Matheson, Louise Phillips, Ian Rankin, LJ Ross, Robin Stevens and Sarah Ward.
With launches in London (Waterstones Piccadilly), Dublin (Hodges Figgis bookstore in Dawson Street), Cork (City Library) and online from Belfast we have events across the full spectrum of book/reading outlets on 1st June, all starting at 6.30pm. I’ll be in Waterstones Piccadilly on 1st, do join in with one of our events if you can, we’d love to kick up a Twitter storm!
If you’re organising a crime related event (!) in June, do add it to www.crimereading.com!
Here’s the press release:
NCRM will be an inclusive initiative celebrating diversity in the genre at every level, with events both in person and virtual to ensure accessibility. Whether it’s a Crime Fact and Fiction walk through London, or an online workshop, there will be events for everyone.
The high-profile initiative is encouraging bookshops, libraries, museums, book-clubs and schools to get involved with their own events in the month-long celebration, under the #PickUpAPageTurner hashtag.
Interested organisations and groups can sign up to a mailing list for organiser updates and news, and to download promotional tools including logos, posters and press release templates to help in their own planning for NCRM at www.crimereading.com.
Spearheaded by CWA board member, the bestselling crime writer Sam Blake, NCRM will be launched at an event at Waterstones Piccadilly on June 1 featuring authors Abir Mukherjee, Lisa Jewell, LJ Ross, Nadine Matheson, and Vaseem Khan.
Sam Blake said: “This is a fantastic project that I hope will demonstrate the full breadth of the crime genre and bring new readers to discover books and authors they haven’t read before – crime isn’t just police procedurals but includes Young Adult, mystery and thrillers, as well as books that have become celebrated films like Ian Fleming’s iconic Bond. We want everyone to #PickUpAPageTurner in June and try something new.”
Based between London and Dublin, Sam Blake is the founder of the Murder One International Crime Writing Festival and award-winning writing resources website Writing.ie. Her latest Irish Times No 1 bestseller, Remember My Name, was released in January this year.
Maxim Jakubowski, Chair of the CWA, said: “National Crime Reading Month is one of the Crime Writers’ Association’s most ambitious initiatives and its growth this year is unprecedented. We want to encourage more people to read books in the crime genre, and mystery and thrillers are a popular gateway into reading. It’s a winning combination.”
Ambassador Ian Rankin said: “For me, crime fiction is the perfect package – sense of place, strong characters, moral debate and pacy storytelling. Nothing beats it.”
NCRM has already received an enthusiastic response from organisations from the British Library to Waterstones and the Portico Library in Manchester.
Charity partner The Reading Agency’s Quick Reads programmeaims to bring the pleasures and benefits of reading to everyone, including the one in three adults in the UK who do not regularly read for pleasure, and the one in six adults in the UK who find reading difficult. With new titles published each year, the Quick Reads programme regularly celebrates the role of crime writing as a genre for avid readers and to attract those new to reading for pleasure.
Karen Napier, CEO, The Reading Agency said: “We are delighted to join National Crime Reading Month as the charity partner this year. Through our adult reading work, we know how important crime writing is both for lifelong reading lovers and for those who are just starting out on their reading journey. We’re delighted to be taking part in the launch this year and helping new readers discover great reads by fantastic authors as part of the project.”
Anthony Horowitz, who has written over 40 books including the bestselling Alex Rider teen spy series, said in support of NCRM: “A gripping story, the highest stakes and the search for truth …. What better way to while away the hours? National Crime Reading Month is a great idea. Really there should be twelve of them a year.”
Vaseem Khan, author of two award-winning crime series set in India, the Baby Ganesh Agency series, and the Malabar House historical crime novels, said: “The soaring popularity of crime fiction is now a global phenomenon with voices from around the world highlighting the incredible breadth of the field. It’s been my privilege to both write crime and to represent a vanguard of writers from non-traditional backgrounds. As an ambassador for National Crime Writing Month, I hope to celebrate not just great books and the authors who write them, but also the people who read them, debate them, critique them, adore them, and, occasionally, throw them against the wall. In short, our wonderful readers, without whom none of this works.”
One of the UK’s most prominent societies, the CWA was founded in 1953 by John Creasey. It works to support, promote and celebrate the crime writing genre, and runs the prestigious Dagger awards.
Robin Stevens, children’s book author of the popular series The Ministry of Unladylike Activity, also voiced her support for the initiative: “Crime fiction has been a safe place for generations of readers, a genre that makes sense of a chaotic world and allows fans to feel calm, comforted and in control. It’s helped people through some of the most difficult moments of the past 150 years, and we need it today more than ever.”
For more information and join the mailing list for NCRM events, go to www.crimereading.com and follow #PickUpAPageTurner @The_CWA