As a dedicated Agatha Christie fan, I have read and re-read all her books. So when I had the opportunity four years ago to attend the Agatha Christie Festival in Torquay on the English Rivera, I hopped on a plane, had a lot of fun — and wrote this article.
This September, from the 14th to the 21st, the South Devon festival returns, for the 10th time, and it promises to be even more fun, as it has repositioned itself as a major international crime writing literary festival.
Top crime authors including Sophie Hannah, author of the brand-new Poirot novel The Monogram Murders, will gather on the English Riviera, birthplace of world-famous crime writer Agatha Christie.
Glamorous literary and murder mystery events will centre on the festival’s new home at Torquay’s historic Torre Abbey, with its spectacular sea-facing setting and intriguing Potent Plants Garden that highlights some of Christie’s deadliest poisons. Already a hit with international visitors, the new Agatha Christie festival format is expected to bring in a whole new wave of crime fiction lovers to the week long event and considerably increase overseas staying visitors on the English Riviera.
Festival-goers will be able to attend readings by crime writing masterminds, meet Mathew Prichard, Agatha Christie’s grandson and see him in conversation with Ben Stephenson, the man responsible for commissioning all drama on the BBC, visit Greenway, Christie’s glorious riverside residence on the River Dart by steam train and boat, walk the Agatha Christie mile, enjoy tea dances and attend many other unique events. Torquay’s sister towns on the beautiful English Riviera: Brixham, Paignton and Babbacombe Bay will also be hosting stylish Agatha Christie themed events.
Mathew Prichard said, “It is with the generous support of the Arts Council that we are able to make this annual celebration of my grandmother’s work bigger and better than ever before. We look forward to welcoming fans from all over the world to the International Agatha Christie Festival in its new home at Torre Abbey, which might itself have been an appropriate venue for one of her famous stories.”
Hilary Strong, Managing Director of Acorn Productions Ltd added, “The English Riviera Tourism Company has played host to this annual celebration of Agatha Christie’s work for a number of years. As the company managing Agatha Christie’s rights and work, we are delighted to partner with them and the local council to build an exciting new international literary festival that will appeal to a wide audience and bring new and existing fans to Christie’s home town and to her works. The International Agatha Christie Festival is just one of a number of exciting new developments for the Christie brand that includes a new Poirot novel, The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah, who will be speaking at the Festival about the new book and her relationship with Agatha Christie, and two new drama adaptations being produced by Acorn Productions for BBC1.”
As one of the most widely read authors in the world, Agatha Christie has worldwide appeal and many of her fans travel from all over the world to the English Riviera each year to celebrate the life and work of their favourite author. This year the Festival is working with partners including HarperCollins and the Times.
To facilitate the promotional program a dedicated new Festival website has been launched.
Tracey Guiry, Interim Festival Director said, “The English Riviera is very proud of its connection with Agatha Christie and we are pleased to have received so much support to get the International Agatha Christie Festival relaunched for 2014. We aim to bring the very best events to Torre Abbey and to celebrate Agatha’s writing, along with the many things that inspired her. Crime writers working for television, the stage, film and, of course, on their own books, will be joining our new programme and there will be something for everyone to enjoy.”
For more about what to do and where to stay on Devon’s beautiful English Riviera, please visit this website www.englishriviera.co.uk.