Best sellers and award-winning authors confirmed for literary festival near Leighton Buzzard and Aylesbury

A series of industry-leading authors have been confirmed for a volunteer-run literary festival near Leighton Buzzard and Aylesbury.

By James Lowson
Friday, 20th May 2022, 5:31 pm

BeaconLit festival in Ivinghoe takes place on 16 July, Sunday Times best sellers and award-winning scribes will be there in attendance.

The annual book festival has been on hold for the past two years, due to Covid-related restrictions.

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Ruth Hogan, photo by Simon Weller

As well as book signing opportunities and the chance to speak with some nationally-respected storytellers, visitors can enjoy a series of live, in-depth interviews.

Nazir Afzal, author of The Prosecutor, is a former Chief Crown Prosecutor, and was chief executive of the UK’s Police and Crime Commissioners, during a 24-year career, he prosecuted some of the most high-profile cases in the country.

He will be going through the details of his book and a lifetime working in crime prosecution.

William Ryan

Uplifting fiction specialist, Ruth Hogan, has sold over one million books, and is the second featured interviewee.

Her first novel, The Keeper of Lost Things, was a Sunday Times bestseller and former favourite of Richard and Judy.

Stacey Halls worked as a journalist before her debut, The Familiars (2019), which was the bestselling debut hardback novel of that year, won a Betty

Trask Award and was shortlisted for the British Book Awards and Debut Book of the Year. She is also a guest speaker.

Stacey Halls , photo by Ollie Grove

The new voices panel returns too, showcasing three new talents from the literary world:

Katie Allen is a former journalist whose debut novel is Everything Happens for a Reason, it is loosely autobiographical, as Katie’s son, Finn, was stillborn in 2010, and her character’s experience of grief is based on her own - and yes, someone did tell her that ‘everything happens for a reason’.

The second featured author is Rosie Andrews, her debut novel The Leviathan, set in Norfolk in 1643, sees a young soldier returning home during the English Civil War to face rumours of witchcraft, and a dark threat involving an old shipwreck.

Ayanna Lloyd Banwo, completes the rising stars panel, she is a writer from Trinidad and Tobago with an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, whose work has been published magazines and shortlisted for prizes, and whose first novel is When We Were Birds.

Nazir Afzal

Three historic fiction specialists have also been secured as guest speakers for the two years in the making event.

Antonia Hodgson, author of the bestselling Thomas Hawkins historical crime series, has won the CWA Historical Dagger and been shortlisted for many

other awards, including the Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year, with her most recent book,The Silver Collar, shortlisted for the HWA Gold Crown in 2021.

William Ryan’s novels have been shortlisted for numerous awards, including the Irish Fiction Award, the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year, the

Endeavour Historical Gold Crown and the Crime Writers Association’s Steel, Historical and New Blood Daggers, and his latest novel, A House of Ghosts, is set in 1917.

They will be in conversation with Antonia Senior, who is a writer and journalist who reviews historical fiction for The Times and has published two novels set

Cara Hunter photo by Justine Stoddart

during the English Civil War, and one in twelfth Century Scotland.

A real crimebusters panel gives readers the chance to discover how far crime authors go to make their work authentic, and when do they cut corners in the interests of the story?

Also, what niggles the real cops the most? The two crime writers chatting to a Detective Inspector and a former CSI are:

Cara Hunter, author of the Sunday Times bestselling crime novels featuring DI Adam Fawley and his Oxford-based police team, which have sold over a

million copies in the UK alone has been a Richard and Judy Book Club pick, shortlisted for Crime Book of the Year in the British Book Awards 2019, and seen her fourth novel, No Way Out, selected by the Sunday Times as one of the 100 best crime novels since 1945.

Dave Sivers is a BeaconLit founder whose popular series featuring detectives Lizzie Archer and Dan Baines is set in Aylesbury Vale, whilst In Ink, published in 2020, introduced DI Nathan Quarrel in the start of a new series set in West Hertfordshire.

BeaconLit is entirely run and staffed by volunteers and raises funds for Beacon Villages Community Library.

It takes place in Brookmead School, free parking is available on Ivinghoe Lawn, refreshments can be purchased on site.

Full day passes can be purchased at the early bird price of £23 up to 6 June, after which the price rises to £30.

More ticketing information is available on the event website here.