The coast’s own queen of crime joins festival

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Most aspirant writers never get published at all. Only a tiny percentage see their work adapted for television.

How many can claim two separate long-running TV series, based in two separate distinctive locations and built round two different detectives? Only Ann Cleeves comes to mind.

Ann is a literary phenomenon, a best-selling author renowned world-wide and given all manner of literary awards. And she lives here, without fuss or attention seeking, at the coast.

I know personally how much support Ann gives to various causes (she worked hard on the recent campaign to Save Newcastle Libraries).

When we approached her to help on our Cullercoats Crime Sunday event (Sunday, June 7), she offered her time free of charge.

This event is now virtually sold out, but tickets are still available for Ann reading her own work that evening in Cullercoats Community Centre where she’ll be joined by Shetland fiddler Catherine Geldard.

Shetland is one of the TV series based on Ann’s books.

The series features detective Jimmy Perez and Ann wrote an article in The Guardian last weekend about her deep love of The Shetland Isles. A sixth series of Shetland has just finished and their popularity seems unabated.

There have also been five acclaimed television series of Vera, built round Ann’s quirky detective Vera Stanhope (played by Brenda Blethyn).

These are set in the north east – Whitley Bay and Cullercoats featured recently. Writers usually centre their books in places they love. Both Shetland and the north east lay claim to Ann Cleeves’ heart.

Ann lives in Whitley Bay (she grew up in Hereford and North Devon) and we’re thrilled she’s so involved with our little festival.

Tickets for festival events are available at www.ironpress.co.uk , on (0191) 251 6009 and from Cullercoats Coffee, John Street, or Cullercoats Library.