Capital Crime Festival

Great Connaught Rooms, London

26th to 28th September, 2019

London Thoughts: Mark Billingham, author of Their Little Secret, “London needs a major crime festival and it looks like this is going to be it.”

Shocking really, but this is the first international crime and thriller festival to be held in London! Fittingly there are no half measures here – the line up is spectacular: Robert Harris, David Baldacci, Lynda la Plante, Martina Cole, Ian Rankin, Kate Atkinson, Denise Mina, A.A. Dhand, Vaseem Khan, Joseph Knox, Leye Adenle, Dreda Say Mitchell, Stella Rimington, I could go on; there are 130 authors, actors and creatives on the bill, from bestselling authors to up-and-comers. This promises to be a massive celebration of books, films and TV. Capital Crime is a mouth-watering prospect for fans of all things crime and thriller.

London Thoughts: “Oh, I love London Society! It is entirely composed now of beautiful idiots and brilliant lunatics. Just what Society should be.” – Oscar Wilde.

Capital Crime is the brainchild of Adam Hamdy and David Headley. Adam Hamdy is a London-born screenwriter and author. Adam recently signed a three-book deal with Pan Macmillan. Black 13, the first book in the new thriller series, will be published in January 2020. As a screenwriter, Adam is currently adapting a multi-million copy New York Times bestselling novel for a US studio. In the past year he has written screenplays for four Academy Award-winning production companies on both sides of the Atlantic. Adam has a degree in Law from Oxford University and a degree in Philosophy from the University of London. He is a seasoned skier, rock climber, and marksman. David Headley studied theology in London and Durham before co-founding and becoming the Managing Director of Goldsboro Books, a much admired, leading independent bookseller, based in central London. He has gained a reputation for championing debut authors and he has created the UK’s largest collectors’ book club. David has won awards for bookselling and in 2015 he was included in the Top 100 most influential people in publishing by The Bookseller. David is also the MD of The Dome Press, a small, independent publisher based in London.

London Thoughts: Mark Edwards, author of Here to Stay (September, 2019), on what to expect in crime publishing – more twisty domestic noirs about scary home environments and stalkers. He expects a big return for the serial killer thriller but says that writers will have to raise their game in the light of strong competition.

Capital Crime opens on Thursday, 26th September, with the New Voice Awards. This is an exciting new competition run in conjunction with the DHH Literary Agency to help undiscovered crime and thriller writers to get noticed. Budding authors need to upload the first three chapters of their thriller/crime novel at the Capital Crime website and event passholders at the festival get a chance to read the entries and vote for their favourite. The top ten selected on 19/9/19 will be judges by a Capital Crime committee and the winner will be announced at an evening function on the first night. Entries cost £10, but if you’re interested don’t delay, the deadline for entries is midnight on 18th September. The winner receives a trophy and a £250 prize.

London Thoughts: Roberto Saviano, interviewed by the Guardian for the publication of The Piranhas (2018), said London was the “dirtiest capital in the world”. A place where South American drug money and the billions filtered out of Russia are laundered and legitimised.

Festival Friday is a full programme day. It all kicks off with a panel on The Influence of Agatha Christie (Sophie Hannah, Ruth Ware, Christopher Fowler, John Curran and L.C. Tyler – moderator) and Whose Crime Is It Anyway? round 1 of a mega-quiz that pits two writer teams against each other. Hosted by actor Paul Clayton this promises to be a lot of fun. Round 1 sees a debut team (Marilyn Davis, Jean Levy, Deborah O’Donaghue, Trisha Sakhlecha, and Vanessa Savage) taking on a team of  thriller writers (Lizzy Barber, Charlotte Duckworth, Melanie Golding, Lesley Kara, and Bev Thomas). Quiz rounds run throughout the day. Meanwhile the schedule includes interviews with Mark Billingham, Peter James, and Lynda la Plante, and an intriguing one-on-one between Don Winslow and Ian Rankin. Author signings pepper the weekend and Anthony Horowitz and Adam Hamdy will develop a ‘pitch’ live on the stage. There are panels on Are We Living in a Spy Thriller?, The Truth in Pieces, The Psychology of Tension, Torn from History and a Mystery panel. The day ends with an interview with Robert Harris and an exclusive film screening.

London Thoughts: “Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner / That I love London so / Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner / That I think of her wherever I go / I get a funny feeling inside of me / Just walking up and down / Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner / That I love London town.” – Hubert Gregg

Saturday is another full programme day. Opening with a second Mystery panel and When Women Make Murderers (Fiona Cummins, Laura Sheppard-Robinson, CJ Tudor and Olivia Kieran, and Amy McLellan – moderator). Later panels include Is True Crime Better than Fiction?, Chilled to the Bone, Beneath the Surface, Building Drama Page by Page, High Octane Thrillers, The Forensic Mind, The Mind of a Criminal, The Wrong Side of the Law, Changing Times and Fantastic Crime. There are interviews with Kate Atkinson and John Connolly. Naturally everything winds up with a Gala Cocktail Party at which the Reader Awards winners will be announced:

The Capital Crime Amazon Publishing Readers’ Awards

Capital Crime and Amazon Publishing have partnered to present the Readers’ Choice Awards, excitingly this encompasses book, film and TV. The shortlists published on 25th July 2019 were drawn up by Capital Crime’s advisory board of authors but readers will decide the winners. Once again the festival passholders will have their say on their favourites in each category. Passholders have until 19th September to vote.

David Headley said: ‘Capital Crime is all about the readers. With panels focused on entertaining and engaging, and events and parties that are open to all, it was only natural we give readers the ultimate say over who wins our awards.’


Hatty Stiles, Senior Marketing Manager, Amazon Publishing, said, ‘We’re delighted to be sponsoring the Capital Crime Reader’s Awards, and excited to be part of this new festival that celebrates the crime and thriller community. As soon as we heard about Capital Crime’s innovative approach and stellar line-up, we were eager to be involved.’

The 2019 Amazon Publishing Readers’ Award Nominees are:


  • Jane Casey – Cruel Acts
  • Anthony Horowitz – The Sentence is Death
  • Ragnar Jonasson – The Island
  • Philip Kerr – Metropolis
  • Ian Rankin – In A House of Lies                                         


  • Steve Cavanagh – Twisted
  • Mick Herron – London Rules
  • Gregg Hurwitz – Out of the Dark
  • Manda Scott – A Treachery of Spies
  • Matt Wesolowski – Changeling


  • Oyinkan Braithwaite – My Sister, The Serial Killer
  • Lesley Kara – The Rumour
  • Laura Shepherd-Robinson – Blood & Sugar
  • Harriet Tyce – Blood Orange
  • Holly Watt – To The Lions


  • Amer Anwar – Brothers in Blood
  • Mark Edwards – Last of the Magpies
  • Alex Michaelides – The Silent Patient
  • Liane Moriarty – Nine Perfect Strangers
  • CL Taylor – Sleep


  • Robert Galbraith – Lethal White – Read by Robert Glenister
  • Anthony Horowitz – The Sentence is Death – Read by Rory Kinnear
  • Catherine Steadman – Something in the Water – Read by Catherine Steadman
  • Stuart Turton – The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Read by Jot Davies
  • Harriet Tyce – Blood Orange – Read by Julie Teal


  • Edward Carey – Little
  • Will Carver – Good Samaritans
  • Will Dean – Red Snow
  • Jean Levy – What Was Lost
  • Matt Wesolowski – Changeling


  • Louise Candlish – Our House
  • Ray Celestin – The Mobster’s Lament
  • MW Craven – The Puppet Show
  • Erin Kelly – Stone Mothers
  • Ian Rankin – In a House of Lies


  • American Animals
  • BlacKKKlansman
  • John Wick 3
  • The Sisters Brothers
  • Widows


  • Bodyguard
  • Bosch
  • Killing Eve
  • Line of Duty
  • You

Capital Crime Social Outreach Initiative statement: Capital Crime is a diverse, inclusive and socially responsible festival. With more cuts than ever to creative programmes in schools and universities across the United Kingdom, Capital Crime wants to support the communities on their doorstep to ensure they do not miss out on the opportunity to meet leading industry professionals and authors. Capital Crime’s Social Outreach Initiative hopes to inspire and educate aspiring talent and includes events with bestselling authors and publishing professionals for state-funded sixth-form students and special ticket rates for librarians and low-income families.

David Hewson recently tweeted: “Delighted to say I’ll be among the many authors at @CapitalCrime1 in London next month. Sounds like an amazing and much needed event on the UK book calendar.”

I’m delighted to attend too. Last word to:

London Thoughts: “Why Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” Samuel Johnson.

To find out more about the festival and to book tickets, visit the Capital Crime website.

Paul Burke
September 2019