A BRAND new festival for writers and lovers of crime fiction gets under way this weekend, with a major input from the creator of ‘Vera’.

Crime Story, which takes place at Northumbria University on Saturday (May 31) and Sunday, is a weekend of panel discussions and workshops focusing on a fictional crime as it weaves its way through the criminal justice system.

The event is a collaboration between New Writing North and the university, which is based in the centre of Newcastle.

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Ann Cleeves, a prize-winning author whose Vera Stanhope books are now a major ITV series, has been commissioned to write the crime scenario on which the festival will be based.

Experts, including academics from Northumbria University, will walk participants through the different stages of the criminal justice system from investigation through to sentencing.

The scenario will be based around a young man, found dead in a locked room, a grieving foster mother, a landlord who keeps himself to himself and the picture of an enigmatic girl smiling down from the bloody wall.

Participants will be given an in-depth look at how the investigation and trial would proceed. Northumbria experts and invited guests including police chiefs, top forensics specialists and criminologists, will demonstrate how the police would investigate the crime, what forensics could uncover and how it would be handled in the courts.

Crime writers will also share their expertise at the festival, including Ann Cleeves herself who will be in conversation with Gaby Chiappe – the screenwriter behind the TV adaptations of the Vera novels.

Award-winning crime writer Louise Welsh will also be at Crime Story to talk about her latest novel A Lovely Way to Burn.

For further details, visit crimestory.co.uk