Ann Cleeves

Internationally acclaimed crime writer Ann Cleeves tops the lineup of international guests heading to Bendigo Writers Festival in August.

Cleeves, the creator of novels on which the BBC tv series Vera and Shetland are based, will release the final book featuring her detective Jimmy Perez just before the festival.

Joining Cleeves for a feast of topshelf crime writing will be Australia’s number one crime writer, Michael Robotham, whose new thriller, The Other Wife, is out in June.

“Ann Cleeves is a wonderful writer in the shrewd-detective tradition, while Michael Robotham is in the high-tension page-turner style,” festival director Rosemary Sorensen said.

“Add in crime newcomers Susi Fox, Christian White and Chris Hammer, as well as Michael Brissenden with his political thriller, and we reckon there’s enough to put crime fans on the edge of their seats.”

The festival program will be released online at bendigowritersfestival.com.au on June 6, and the full print program will be included in the June 22 edition of the Bendigo Weekly.

“We get such positive feedback from right around the country about what a terrific place Bendigo is for a festival, with its excellent venues and its strong community culture,” Ms Sorensen said.

“Every year, more people want to get involved, to help create a festival that makes Bendigo proud.”

The festival will officially begin a little earlier this year, with Sam the Story Tram running again in festival week, plus a series of leadup events from Monday, August 6.

For the first time, too, some of the sessions programmed in the Text Marks the Spot schools program on Friday, August 10 will be open to other festival patrons.

“This is a special innovation for us this year, and a good way to utilise the beautiful big Ulumbarra theatre, which is such an asset for our city,” Ms Sorensen said.