A BEST-selling author will headline a crime writing festival next month.

Alex Gray, writer of 16 top-selling crime novels featuring Detective Chief Inspector Lorimer and his psychological profiler Solomon Brightman, will be offering an insight into where she gets her inspiration and will talk about her latest release The Stalker.

Her appearance is one of the highlights of Darlington Libraries’ Crime Festival, organised to celebrate National Libraries Week, which offers the chance to join crime writing workshops and learn about self-publishing.

There’s also a chance to win various prizes throughout the week, including tickets to see Curtains, Jekyll and Hyde and The Lady Vanishes at Darlington Hippodrome.

An Evening with crime author Alex Gray will be held on Wednesday October 9 between 7 and 8.30pm, and tickets are £5, or £3.50 if purchased with a ticket for any of the festival workshops.

Other Crime Festival highlights include a crime fiction workshop with Dr Noir, on Tuesday, October 8 from 7pm, which will help enthusiasts get started on their own short stories.

Cops and Robbers: Creating characters for crime fiction is on Wednesday October 9 from 10am-noon. Join author and creative writing tutor Tracey Iceton for this writing workshop on creating crime fiction characters. She then leads a workshop from 1-3pm on the same day, showing how to create settings in crime fiction.

On Thursday, October 10 from 10am to 4pm a Local Studies crime-themed open day will allow visitors to revisit local crimes of the past and discover if there are any shady villains in your own ancestry.

And budding writers can attend mentoring sessions with Sixth Element Publishing on Saturday, October 12, with eight individual slots available through the day.

Darlington Libraries’ Crime Festival will run October 7-12. All events are at Crown Street Library and tickets must be booked in advance at www.eventbrite.co.uk. For more information log onto www2.darlington.gov.uk