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East coast gets criminally creative with harrogate crime writing festival

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Veteran Member
1 Feb 2009
Just had this in my inbox! Not even sure what forum this is most appropriate for, but thought it might be of interest.


Train operator launches Twitter short crime story

East Coast and bestselling author Martyn Waites have teamed up to launch the first ever crowd-sourced real time short crime story using the social media site Twitter.

The train operator will work with Martyn, who is this year’s reader in residence at the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, part of the Harrogate International Festival, to kick-start the East Coast Crime Story on Thursday 19th April using the Twitter alias @eastcoaststory.

Martyn, who will post the opening 140 character line to the story, has laid down the gauntlet and set the challenge to budding crime writers to contribute and submit suggestions for its subsequent lines to make it as creative and gripping as possible.

East Coast Director of Communications Paul Emberley said: “East Coast has sponsored this year’s Harrogate Crime Writing Festival and has teamed up to launch the East Coast Crime Story using Twitter, to bring two popular train travel past times together - reading and social media.

“Crime is one of the most enduring and much loved genres of writing and what better way to get people talking, and thinking, than to be part of the first ever short crime story written using the social media site.

“We are looking forward to reading the final version of the story and hope that the public get their thinking caps on to come up with some novel suggestions to keep the story as thrilling and intense as only the best crime stories are.”

The story will be created using suggested lines from Twitter followers, and once submitted, will be edited by the Harrogate Festival organisers, who will choose the best suggestions and retweet the updated story, which will help to keep it moving and the tension building as it reaches its criminally creative climax on Friday 20th April.

Martyn Waites said: "Crime is the number one best-selling fiction genre in the country, and we hope to engage the millions of people who read crime novels, by challenging them to write one.

“The East Coast Crime Short Story is a fantastic chance for members of the public to work alongside top name crime writers and craft a thrilling tale of intrigue and murder that'll keep you engrossed throughout your train journey. It's an opportunity to create something totally new, something that's never been attempted before, and that's damned exciting."

Harrogate International Festival Chief Executive Sharon Canavar said: “The partnership between two celebrated Yorkshire brands - Harrogate International Festivals and East Coast - will allow everyone to have a go at crime writing and contribute to a unique crime story alongside award-winning crime authors.

“The story, which will be published on-line and be included within the 2012 Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Event Guide, is a great opportunity to guide a new crime story and to have your say about characters, plot and of course, whodunit.”

The complete story will be posted online at www.eastcoast.co.uk/shortcrimestory, and the public will be able to compete for the chance to come up with a title for the story to win two First Class tickets to Harrogate and tickets to the festival courtesy of East Coast.

For further information about the East Coast Crime Story visit www.eastcoast.co.uk/shortcrimestory or follow us on Twitter via @eastcoaststory.

East Coast:
East Coast introduced a new evening return service from London to Harrogate, the first in 20 years, providing train services seven days a week between the city and town as part of the major changes it made to the timetable on 22 May 2011. This coincided with the launch of its new First Class complimentary meal service, with hot and cold meals served to passengers in their seat.

Martyn Waites:
Born and brought up in Newcastle Upon Tyne, Martyn Waites was an actor before becoming a writer. As well as short stories and non-fiction he has written nine novels, several of which have been nominated for awards. He has held writing residencies at Huntercombe Young Offenders Institution and HMP Chelmsford, run arts-based workshops for socially excluded teenagers and recovering addicts and has recently stepped down as RLF Literary Fellow at the University of Essex, whilst maintaining his role as the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Reader in Residence.
Martyn Waites has also written two bestselling novels under the pseudonym Tania Carver – The Surrogate and The Creeper. His new novel, Cage of Bones, is published in September 2011.

About the Festival:
The Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival is Europe’s largest event dedicated to the celebration of crime fiction. Taking place annually over four days each July, the Festival programmes over 70 best-selling UK and international crime authors and over 20 events. It is promoted by the north of England’s leading arts festival organisation, Harrogate International Festivals.

About Theakstons:
Title sponsor of the Festival since 2005, Theakstons Old Peculier ale is produced by T & R Theakston Ltd. It is one of the country’s most famous and highly regarded traditional ale brewers. Theakstons was established in Masham, North Yorkshire in 1827 by Robert Theakston. After a brief period in the 1980s when the company was acquired by Scottish & Newcastle plc, the company has been back under family ownership since Autumn 2003. It now operates as an independent brewer producing five permanent brands in the Theakstons range including the iconic Old Peculier – its best-known beer with a rich, dark flavour, celebrated by ale enthusiasts all over Britain and around the world. Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival has this year been shortlisted for the 2010 Hollis Sponsorship Awards, which reward and recognise the very best sponsorship campaigns in the UK and internationally.
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RailUK Forums


24 Oct 2011
"He slipped silently into the toilet and waited, the swaying of the train matching his pounding heart, for the revenue inspector to pass"

Maybe I'll give it a miss...


Established Member
8 Aug 2011
The only "crime" happening aboard an East Coast train is the fleecing of First Class passengers who are, according to all spin, on the increase, thrilled with the way they are being "spoilt" and not just using the £25 flat-fare promotions.


Established Member
15 Nov 2011
Between the parallel lines
...which will help to keep it moving and the tension building as it reaches its criminally creative climax on Friday 20th April.

1. Could they work on keeping the ECML moving instead?
2. The tension will build up to the point where the criminally creative climax is revealed to involve a major cable theft spree, at which point there will be very little tension left because the overhead wires will turn out to have been stolen.
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