Murderous Medway – Crime Writing Festival – 6th and 13th October 2018

Creative and Art Events

The Rochester Literature Festival is proud to present its very first Crime Writing Festival Murderous Medway.

With five panels of brilliant crime writers headlined by Mark Billingham, a murder mystery evening and writing workshops, Murderous Medway is a must for crime readers and writers alike.

Split across two October Saturdays (6th and 13th) it’s a packed schedule with eleven fantastic authors, a brand new murder mystery adventure by Alternate Shadows Theatre Group, The Curious Case of Cuthbert’s Curse, and three crime writing workshops covering Concept, Character and Conflict which will leave you with a complete blueprint for your own novel or screenplay.

Festival Director, Jaye Nolan, says: “We’re very excited to welcome eleven authors at the top of their crime writing game to Rochester. Thanks to our Patron Lisa Cutts, and our partner Matthew at Urbane Publications, we’ve writers whose work is being adapted for the screen, writers whose jobs have a direct influence on their storytelling and those for whom crime elements spill over into other genres – headlined by the best selling and multi talented Mark Billingham.

We’re delighted to be working with Alternate Shadows again, bringing their renowned energy and originality to another of our events, and also thank our workshops tutors, Ben Slythe & Graham Guy for their unwavering help, along with Dorothy Lehane and Annwen Adams from the University of Kent, one of our sponsors this year.

We’re also extremely grateful to our other partners, Medway Adult Education and TT Litho, for their continued and valuable support.”

The festival takes place at the Rochester Community Hub and Library, and in Eastgate House, surrounded by some of Medway’s top cultural and heritage attractions, with ample cafes and restaurants nearby. 

For more information and tickets, please visit or call 07904 643770.

Crime Writers’ Day

6th October 2018

Rochester Community Hub 11am-7pm.

All Day Panel Pass £30 (25% discount off the workshops if an All Day Panel Pass is purchased – email for details.

11am Crime Seen: Jane Lythell, Hugh Fraser and Julie Wassmer.

There’s a reason – several, actually – why crime drama is so popular on television. The thrill of a chase, the whodunnit factor, the edge of seat menace. Our Crime Seen panel at the festival consists of three authors infinitely qualified to discuss why taking crime and thriller books to screen is so successful, as well as give us an insight into the creation of their own work. 

12.30pm Real Jobs, Fictional Worlds: Lisa Cutts (Detective) Anna Mazzola (Criminal Justice Solicitor) and Simon Michael (Criminal Barrister).

How do authors get to the nitty gritty of criminal law procedure? Most will speak to the experts – those dealing with real crime day in, day out. For this panel though, we bring together the experts themselves, whose non writing profession informs their fictional crime writing through first hand experience. 

2pm The Real Killers: Paul Harrison

Truth is stranger than fiction – it has to be, since in fiction, everything has to make sense. Loose ends need to be tied up and usually, for a really satisfying read, the perpetrator of the crime is caught by the cleverness of our detective. But real life crime? There isn’t always a nice, tidy ending and there are few authors who commit to the page the level of depravity to which some real criminals sink. Thus, this talk on notorious people who inspire fictional killers is not for the faint hearted! 

3.30pm Crossing the Genres: Christi Daugherty, Guy Adams and AK Benedict.

Are writers restricted by calling themselves crime or thriller writers? Are readers happy to have their expectations subverted when an author produces work that doesn’t fit into their usual slot on the bookcase? And what challenges do authors face when moving into crime from other genres? On this panel, we have three crime writers with work covering genres as diverse as young adults, fantasy, crime with a supernatural twist and even Dr. Who spin offs in book and audio play form. 

5pm Mark Billingham in conversation with RLF Patron Lisa Cutts.

We’re delighted to be joined by prolific, multi talented and entertaining best selling author Mark, whose latest novel, The Killing Habit, has just been published. It continues the award winning series featuring London based detective, Tom Thorne, which includes The Dying Hours, Lifeless, Good As Dead, Time Of Death and Love Like Blood. Lazybones and Death Message both won the Theakston’s Old Peculier Award for Crime Novel Of The Year. 

Mark will be joined by our lovely Patron Lisa Cutts, whose generosity – alongside Matthew at Urbane Publications – has brought together this fabulous line up of writers. The opening of Lisa’s debut novel, Never Forget, is one of the most stunning beginnings to a literary career ever, and her latest book Lost Lives is due out in November. 

NOTE: There will be a thirty minute break in between each panel for book signings and comfort breaks.

The Curious Case of Cuthbert’s Curse

Alternate Shadows Theatre Group Proudly Present An Original Murder Mystery Adventure at Eastgate House.

Saturday, 6 October Various times from 7.30pm. £8 per ticket.

What caused Explorer and Treasure Hunter Cedric Cuthbert to die of fright?

On the night of a full moon, Cedric awoke the household with a blood curdling scream. By the time the Butler had broken down the locked study door, Cedric was dead, a look of  sheer terror on his frozen face and notably, the cursed emeralds from the tomb of a Peruvian Tribal King are nowhere to be found.

Mysterious goings on indeed!

Come along and join in a promenade theatrical experience and help the detective solve this puzzling case.

Murderous Medway Three ‘C’s Crime Writing Workshops

13th October 2018

Rochester Community Hub


Tickets are £8 for one workshop or a pass to all three for £20.. A 25% discount is available on the workshops if you purchase an All Day Panel Pass. Email for details.

Workshop 1: 10am-11.45am Concept – What’s the big idea? 

Do you have a story you want to tell? Still having trouble finding the story at all? Blank Page Storytelling begins with no assumptions and provides a set of examples and exercises that can begin with a blank page, just an idea, or a partial project and set the foundations firmly so the story can emerge. The exercises will help identify the core of the story, find the structure, the hero, the genre, setting and tone. The workshop is informal and friendly but filled with real-world examples and interesting exercises.

Workshop 2: 12noon-1.45pm Compelling Characters – Creating flawed heroes and charismatic villains

Humans are full of inconsistencies. Characters can be contradictory. They can be selfish and generous, lustful and prudish. Using prompts and a variety of writing exercises in the supportive environment of the workshop, you will create flawed heroes and antagonists with redeeming qualities, and generate new writing that centres on these newly formed authentic characters.

Workshop 3: 2pm-3.45pm Conflict – Interrogate your narrative and drive your plot

In our lives, we face daily conflicts; conflicts with ourselves and conflicts with each other. Such tensions build the rich drama and chaos of human existence and are necessary components of our fictionalised character’s lives also. Interrogating these conflicts through a series of writing exercises, you will enhance your understanding of the various ways conflict can be used to intensify your writing and drive plot development.

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