Bay Tales Live 2023

Saturday, March 4th

The first Bay Tales was a delight from start to finish and the whole town can’t wait to welcome you in 2023.”

Bay Tales Patron, Ann Cleeves, OBE

After our 2022 show, we’re returning to the Playhouse in March 2023 for our second annual show – which is going to be even bigger and better.

08:45 Doors Open

09:20 – 09:30 Welcome and Introduction to the Day

The Bay Tales team, Simon Bewick and Vic Watson, will kick things off by letting you know how you can get involved throughout the day and offer some pointers to make sure you get the most out of Bay Tales Live 2023

09:30 -10:30 Ann Cleeves in Conversation with Brian McGilloway

Ann Cleeves:

Kicking off our day is our patron Ann Cleeves, OBE, author of Vera, Shetland and the Matthew Venn series. Once again, Ann has chosen one of her own personal favourite authors to join her on stage in the opening session of Bay Tales Live

Brian McGilloway:

We’re thrilled to welcome Brian as Ann’s special guest who she’ll be joining in conversation to kick off our 2023 show. Brian’s debut novel, Borderlands, was shortlisted for a Crime Writers’ Association Dagger award for a debut novel. The sequel, Gallows Lane, was published in April 2008 and his 2020 novel, The Last Crossing, was nominated in the 2021 Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award.

Trevor Wood:

Adopted local boy and multi-award winning author (CWA New Blood Dagger, Crimefest Specsavers Debut Crime Novel and Guardian Crime Book of the Year among others) of the award-winning Jimmy Mullen trilogy, Trevor returns for our 2023 show… but this time, he’ll be asking the questions as he moderates our opening session.

10:30 -11:00 Break and Book Signing

11:00 -12:00 Simon and Schuster Panel

Dark Disappearances and Hidden Secrets

Ruth Ware:

On the Simon and Schuster panel, we’re joined by Ruth – the Sunday Times and New York Times international bestseller of thrillers including In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, The Lying Game and her new release, The IT Girl.

Jack Jordan:

Alongside Ruth on the Simon and Schuster panel, Jack’s books include My Girl, Anything for Her and Do No Harm – sold at auction in the UK and numerous foreign territories and set to be the thriller of the summer in 2022.

Jo Callaghan:

Rounding off our Simon and Schuster panel, Jo’s debut In the Blink of an Eye, is a dazzling debut from an exciting new voice and asks us what it means to be human. It’s coming in January 2023 and is going to be one of the publisher’s key titles. We’re thrilled to have Jo make us one of her very first festivals.

Moderator: Ayo Onatade

Moderating the Simon and Schuster panel, we’re joined by Ayo Onatade, CWA Red Herring award winning freelance crime fiction critic and commentator. Ayo reviews, writes and interviews for various publications, including Shots Crime and Thriller Ezine.

12:00 -12:30 Break and Book Signing

12:30 -13:30 Penguin Michael Joseph Panel

Books You’re Dying To Read

Lia Middleton:

Lia joins us on the Penguin Michael Joseph panel after appearing on our Bay Tales online show where she wowed viewers with a reading from her debut novel When They Find Her – described by author Will Dean as a ‘superb debut thriller – assured, elegant and utterly gripping. EXCELLENT’. Lia’s second novel Your Word Or Mine is due September and already being called one of the best thrillers of 2022.

C.J. Tudor:

When Stephen King says ‘If you like my stuff, you’ll like this’ about your debut novel, you know you’re doing something right! We’re thrilled to have Sunday Times bestseller C.J. Tudor join us on the Penguin Michael Joseph panel. As well as The Chalk Man (coming to BBC), C.J. is the author of The Burning Girls (coming to Paramount +) and The Taking of Annie Thorne.

Laure Van Rensburg:

Critics, authors and readers have been raving about Laure’s debut novel Nobody But Us. Described by Chris Whitaker as “Fierce, frightening, bold and beautiful”, we’re delighted Laure will be part of the Michael Joseph panel at Bay Tales Live 2023.

Alex North:

Last but by no means least on the Michael Joseph panel, Alex North is a British crime writer who has previously published under another name but became an internationally bestselling author with The Whisper Man, a Richard and Judy pick. He’ll be joining us days before the release of the highly anticipated The Half Burnt House.

Moderator: Abir Mukherjee

Abir is the Times bestselling author of the Wyndham & Banerjee series of crime novels set in Raj-era India which have sold over 250,000 copies and been translated into 15 languages. His books have won numerous awards including the CWA Dagger for best Historical Novel, the Prix du Polar Européen, the Wilbur Smith Award for Adventure Writing and the Amazon Publishing Readers Award for e-book of the Year. We’re delighted Abir is joining us to bring the interviewing skills he displays on his Red Hot Chilli Writers podcast (alongside last year’s guest Vaseem Khan) to Bay Tales Live.

13:30 -14:45 Lunch Break and Book Signings

14:45 – 15:45 Pan MacMillan Panel

Safe as Houses

CM Ewan:

C M Ewan is a pseudonym for Chris Ewan, the critically acclaimed and bestselling author of Safe House – a bestseller in the UK and shortlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. He is also the author of thrillers A Window Breaks, Dead Line, Dark Tides and Long Time Lost, as well as The Good Thief’s Guide series of mystery novels. His new novel ‘The Interview‘ is available now.

Fiona Cummins:

Also appearing on the Pan Macmillan panel, Fiona is an award-winning former Daily Mirror showbusiness journalist and a graduate of the Faber Academy Writing A Novel course. She is the bestselling author of five crime thriller novels, receiving critical acclaim from household names including Val McDermid, Lee Child and Ian Rankin. Three of her novels have been optioned for television. Into The Dark, Fiona’s fifth novel, was published in April 2022 and was described by Sarah Vaughan, author of Netflix smash-hit Anatomy of A Scandal as ‘Complex. Inventive. Twisty. Unsettling.’

Lin Anderson:

Lin is best known as the creator of the forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod series of crime thriller novels – described as ‘The best Scottish crime series since Rebus’ by The Daily Record. Paths of the Dead and Follow The Dead were shortlisted in 2015 and 2017 for Scottish Crime Book of the Year, and Driftnet was a Scottish No.1 bestseller.

Moderator: DV Bishop

D. V. Bishop writes the Cesare Aldo historical thrillers set in Renaissance Florence: City of Vengeance (2021), The Darkest Sin (2022) and the forthcoming Ritual of Fire (2023). His novels have won the New Zealand Booklovers Award, been shortlisted for the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize, and longlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger, the Historical Dagger, and for the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Novel.

15:45 – 16:15 Break and Book Signing

16:15 – 17:15 Harper North Panel

The Rise and Rise of Northern Crime: Location, Character and Grit

Jonathan Whitelaw:

Our first panel member to be announced on the Harper North panel, Jonathan is an author, journalist and broadcaster. After working on the frontline of Scottish politics, he moved into journalism. His new novel, The Bingo Hall Detectives is a cozy crime with a quirky setting, a great location, entertaining sleuths and a fiendish puzzle…

Karen Woods:

Karen Woods left school at 15 with no qualifications but she always knew she had a story to tell. An adult literacy course when she was 40 opened the gates and she’s written over 20 novels since. She is now a passionate literacy campaigner who also works in schools empowering children to write and tell their story. Described as ‘Manchester’s answer to Martina Cole’ Karen’s latest novels include Tracks and Vice

Nasheema Lennon:

Nasheema Lennon is a writer of Mauritian heritage based in Nottingham. She studied psychology and criminology at university before nine years working in the prison service, where she facilitated cognitive behavioural therapy programmes. This experience gave Nasheema insight into the thoughts and feelings behind criminal acts and how offenders rationalise their behaviour. The Engagement is her first novel and is described as ‘a mind-bending, against-the-clock psych thriller debut’

Moderator: Victoria Watson

Our very own Vic Watson will be moderating the Harper North panel with all the skill and crime fiction knowledge you might have seen at our Noir at the Bar, Bay Tales and Virtual Noir at the Bar sessions, as well as countless author interviews around the region.

17:15 -17:45 Raffle Draw & Close, Book Signing

To close the day off we’ll be drawing raffle tickets and giving out our donated prizes from authors, publishers, and local businesses, as well as giving you a last chance to buy books and get them signed from our final panel.


  • On-site bookshop, Whitley Bay’s favourite indie the bound, will have new and backlist titles available
  • Author signings during breaks throughout the day.
  • Tote bags on sale featuring exclusive advance copies of some of 2023’s biggest titles (These items are limited stock only and details of how to buy will be revealed during the introduction)
  • Charity raffle featuring money-can’t-buy prizes from authors, publishers, local businesses and more
  • Surprise guest authors to meet across the day
  • Selected Local Bar/ Cafe/ Restaurant discounts for ticket holders
  • Two Fringe Events: Noir at the Bar on Friday evening and a very special On the Sofa podcast recording featuring authors Victoria Selman (Truly, Darkly, Deeply), Fiona Cummins, Cara Hunter (Close to Home) and Abigail Dean (Girl A) on Sunday morning.
  • Note: spaces for these events are limited. Bay Tales Live ticket holders can select ONE of these events to attend free while stocks last. Tickets are released on a first come first served basis, and proof of Bay Tales Live ticket purchase must be shown at the event. If you have bought a full day ticket and would like to apply for one of these bonus fringe events, please contact the Bay Tales team.
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