The Festival


Having got themselves established, Crime Cymru members asked themselves why, when England has a dozen crime fiction festivals, Scotland five and Northern Ireland one, Wales with all its creative heritage and various literary festivals had no festival dedicated (or should that be dead-ecated?) to crime fiction. 

Meanwhile, the plot began to thicken…

Matt and Alis were invited to appear at Wales Week Berkshire where they met organiser Nellie Williams, who is also the brains behind the hugely successful Glanusk Show. Matt joined a book tour run by Dr Jackie Collins, also known as doyenne of crime fiction, Dr Noir, and founder of the Newcastle Noir festival. With these characters in place, a Crime Cymru festival working group was formed. Discussions became plans. Finally, when Matt and Alis were introduced to Lyndy Cooke, former organiser of the Hay Festival, it appeared the conspirators were all in place.

But as well as being ambitious, the working group were realistic. Prior to the ‘real world’ festival in 2022, we decided to hold Virtual CRIME CYMRU Digidol in 2021. This online festival both introduced Crime Cymru to the wider UK/global audience and provided a warmup act to the first Gŵyl CRIME CYMRU Festival in 2022.


So here’s our outline for the Festival:

We’ll open our inaugural festival on the evening of Friday, April 29th with a big community event – a dragon lantern parade starting in the town centre and finishing at Aberystwyth castle in its commanding position overlooking the town and the sea. Later that evening, we’re planning a combined pub quiz & Noir at the Bar event where festival goers can meet each other and the festival’s featured authors and hear some sneak peeks of their books.

On Saturday night the festival will throw our own version of the tradition Welsh noson lawen (evening of fun) which will include food and drink from local specialist suppliers, the award ceremony for our inaugural Crime Cymru First Novel Competition and a live recording of a podcast with festival guests. The evening will also offer festival goers the chance to chat to participating authors in an informal atmosphere.

Sunday evening will present another chance to meet world-famous crime writers when we invite festival goers to an evening with Ann Cleeves and Lilja Sigurdardottir – the rising star of Icelandic crime fiction who was also part of the team that wrote recent Icelandic TV hit Katla.

And, all weekend, festivalmgoers will have the chance to see household names from the worlds of TV crime drama and crime fiction talking about their work as we run panel events throughout Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning, as well as writing workshops and free, meet-the-author book signing events in the festival venue, the Ceredigion Museum.

In line with Crime Cymru’s aims, newer authors will be offered a platform to showcase their work at the festival and aspiring authors will be catered for, too, with a session for how to pitch to agents and various workshops.