There have been major international crime festivals in France and Germany, England has Harrogate and CrimeFest, and everyone’s heard of Bloody Scotland. North America has Bouchercon and even Iceland and Rotorua have held notable crime fiction events. Now Wales is getting in on the act with an event called Gŵyl Crime Cymru Festival, and organisers have ambitious plans for the event.
But how ambitious can you be in a world emerging from COVID-19? Well, in its first year the Gŵyl festival will be taking it easy. Between 26 April and 3 May this year, the Wales-based crime festival will be an online event with guests including Lee Child, Clare Mackintosh, Abir Mukherjee and Elly Griffiths – all of whom regular CFL readers will be aware of. Even though it’s online, this year’s Gŵyl CrimeCymru Festival promises whodunnit, whydunnit, wheredunnit and howdunnit events to your living room. Or study.
The Virtual Crime Cymru Festival will lay the groundwork for an in-person event due to take place in seaside Aberystwyth from 29 April to 2 May 2022. For this event, authors appearing will include Mark Billingham, Elly Griffiths, Ann Cleeves, Peter James, Mari Hannah and MW Craven. And, you can expect more to join their ranks over the coming months.
The hope is that as well as indulging in crime and mystery stories, visitors to West Wales will also enjoy the local culture and the striking appeal of the area’s melancholic landscapes. Like the TV series Hinterland (pictured), which was filmed in the Aberystwyth area, the event will be bilingual with streams in Welsh and English.
The impetus behind the Gŵyl Crime Cymru Festival has come from the Wales-based authors Alis Hawkins, Matt Johnson and Rosie Claverton, who set up Crime Cymru in 2017 to promote and showcase Welsh crime fiction and the wider culture to the world at large.