BOOK lovers are to get the chance to meet six of the North’s most acclaimed crime writers at a special, two-day murder marathon.

As part of its annual WRITE Festival – from Saturday 11 to Friday 24 May – The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, is holding a Murder at the Word Weekend.

And the South Shields venue has attracted a ‘murder squad’ of some of the crime writing world’s biggest names for two-days of talks and workshops.

Vera creator, Ann Cleeves, Kate Ellis and Ashley Dyer author, Margaret Murphy, will be joined by Martin Edwards, Chris Simms and Cath Staincliffe for the special event, which kicks off on Saturday 18 May with a day for fans of the authors’ works.

For this readers’ event, the authors will be joined by forensic expert Helen Pepper, who often consults with Margaret Murphy when she is writing crime scene storylines, for panel discussions where they will talk about their work, careers and the characters they have created – chaired by Dr Noir herself, Dr Jacky Collins.

Following this, fans will get the chance to meet the individual authors in an intimate setting and find out more about them – getting to know the person behind some of their favourite novels as well as their favourite characters. Attendees will also be able to ask their burning questions and get their books signed.

This will be followed by a Murder Mystery Night run by the squad – which will be based on an original story by Kate Ellis entitled The Case of the Late Cook.

The cook has been found dead in the kitchen of Carswell Hall, stabbed through the heart with one of her meat skewers and participants will be challenged with identifying the murderer from the four suspects.

Tania Robinson, Head of Culture, at The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, said she is “thrilled to be welcoming the Murder Squad for this exciting weekend.”

“There really is something for everyone – whether they’re a fan of the authors’ novels, an aspiring writer wanting some tips, or just want to channel their inner detective.”

“Where else would you get to meet, and hear from, six of the best crime writers that the North of England has to offer in one place? It’s such a fantastic opportunity for crime fiction lovers from across the region to hear first-hand what inspires the authors who produce these gripping novels they can’t put down.”

Readers’ Day, on Saturday 18 May, will take place between 10am and 5pm and places cost £10 for the full day, while the Murder Mystery Night will be from 6.30pm until 8pm and tickets cost £3.50.

Budding writers are also able to attend the Writers’ Day on Sunday 19 May, where they can enjoy a selection of workshops with the Murder Squad authors, during which they will share tips and provide insider knowledge about how to make it in the industry.

Tickets for the Writers’ Day, from 10am to 3.30pm, on Sunday 19 May, cost £8 per workshop and all events are only suitable for those aged 16 and over.

For further information about The WRITE Festival, and to book tickets, visit www.theworduk.org/write