The International Agatha Christie Festival launches its 125th anniversary programme

The International Agatha Christie Festival launches its 125th anniversary programme

David Suchet as Agatha Christie detective Hercule Poirot

The world's best-selling novelist is celebrated in nine days of talks, tours and other events

In a career lasting half a century, Dame Agatha wrote 66 mystery novels, half a dozen romances, a dozen plays and in so doing became the most enduringly popular author of the last century, with sales conservatively estimated at two billion. If it takes a week for an averagely busy person to read a Christie novel, and conservatively assuming that each book sold was read just once, that means humanity has whiled away over 38 million years of its spare time reading Agatha Christie. Which, in turn, means that they couldn't possibly have been mowing the lawn at the time of the murder.

The lady remains enduringly popular, with poet-turned-thriller-writer Sophie Hannah praising not just Christie's genius for plot but also her knowledge of human nature. The International Agatha Christie Festival, which takes place this September, is a major celebration of her life and work, and is given an extra boost this year on account of it being Christie's 125th birthday.

There are talks from Kate Adie, Sophie Hannah (who has recently written an official Poirot novel of her own), crime writer Martin Edwards, food writer Anne Martinelli and others. There's a Q&A with artist Tom Adams, who designed the jackets for several first editions of Christie's novels; a tea dance; a vintage fair; an exhibition of previously unseen photos from the Christie family archives; pop-up performances from the resident company of professional actors and much else besides, but not, we sincerely hope, the unexpected discovery in an otherwise locked and empty room of the murdered body of a respected local opthalmologist.

The festival has the full endorsement of the Christie estate, with the author's grandson Mathew Prichard saying 'I feel sure that my grandmother would have welcomed the diversity of the programme and how it will reach so many different audiences, particularly through the workshop programme for emerging writers and the many new opportunities for children, older people, film-makers and local students to get involved.'

The International Agatha Christie Festival is in various venues in and around Torquay from Fri 11–Sat 20 Sep

International Agatha Christie Festival

Ten days of events celebrating the world's best-selling novelist, with a Family Day, talks, readings, author events, a vintage fair, a tea dance, writing workshops and a gala evening.

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