(clockwise from top left) J.D. Barker, K.J. Howe, Max Seeck, Kathleem Antrim, Felix Francis, and Candice Fox Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: This year, the second edition of the ‘Thriller Festival’ returns to the 42nd Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) at Expo Centre Sharjah.

Taking place from November 8 to 10, the Festival will feature a lineup of 10 mystery and thriller genre bestselling authors and offer fans an opportunity to join the talks, specialised workshops and have their favourite books signed by these world-renowned authors.

International guests

Organised in partnership with the ‘Thriller Festival NY,’ the Sharjah edition will host:

• Finnish author Max Seeck, renowned for “Faithful Reader,” “Evil’s Net,” and “The Last Grudge.”

• American author K.J. Howe, widely recognised for her compelling “The Freedom Broker” series and winning prestigious honours such as the Best First Novel Thriller Award and her nomination as a finalist for the Barry Awards with her debut book in the series.

• American J.D. Barker, the creative force behind enthralling novels like “The Noise,” “A Caller’s Game,” and “The Fourth Monkey,”

• New York Times best-selling author Danielle Trussoni, renowned for her literary masterpieces like “The Ancestor,” “Angelology,” and “Angelopolis,”

• Ivy Pochoda, an award-winning author with notable works like “Sing Her Down” and “These Women,”

• Felix Francis, a best-selling novelist from the UK, known for “No Reserve.”

• Australian bestselling author and recipient of the prestigious Ned Kelly Award, Candice Fox, known for her distinguished titles, including “Crimson Lake” and “Fire with Fire,”

• Australian bestselling novelist Alex Finlay, author of “Every Last Fear,” “The Night Shift,” and “What Have We Done.”

• Kathleen Antrim, an award-winning and bestselling author of “Capital Offense,” will also participate in the Thriller Festival.

Panel discussions

On November 8, the Thriller Festival will host two panel discussions. Ivy Pochoda will lead the session titled ‘Crafting Twists and Turns,’ which will focus on the techniques and strategies used by authors to create suspenseful and gripping mystery and crime stories. The ‘Screenwriting Mystery, Crime, and Thrillers’ panel, led by Max Seeck, will explore the process of adapting thrilling books to the silver screen and unravel the secrets behind their enduring popularity.

The following day, author Danielle Trussoni will lead the panel discussion titled ‘Behind the Curtain,’ delving into the reasons behind the enduring popularity and universal appeal of crime, mystery, and thriller genres, exploring the intricacies that make them the most sought-after genres globally. Meanwhile, author J.D. Barker will lead an engaging session titled ‘Exploring the Global Allure of Suspense and Thrillers.’

Two panel discussions will be held on the third and final day of the Thriller Festival, where Candice Fox will lead the ‘Unveiling the Unknown: The Secrets Behind Writing Engaging Detective Protagonists’ panel discussion, exploring the characteristics and development of memorable detectives, their motivations, and the challenges of portraying their investigative skills. Meanwhile, authors Alex Finlay and K.J. Howe will lead the session ‘Male Versus Female Thriller Writers,’ which will explore the intriguing dynamics and unique perspectives brought by male and female thriller writers.


The festival will also host two workshops at Forum 2 from 11am to 12pm, featuring J.D. Barker and K.J. Howe, titled ‘Mastering the Art of Thrillers: How to Craft Suspenseful Narratives’ on November 8. On the second day, author Candice Fox will lead the workshop ‘Revealing the Enigma: Learning Compelling Suspense in Plot and Character Development.’

Book signings

At the conclusion of each discussion panel and workshop, the festival will offer book signing sessions with the participating authors. The signings will give the public an opportunity to obtain a personalised copy of their favourite author’s work and represent a unique chance to connect with the creative minds behind the thrilling narratives attendees have explored during the festival.

The 42nd annual edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) brings together 2,033 publishers and exhibitors from 108 nations, presenting an impressive array of 1.5 million titles. The book fair’s 12-day agenda includes over 1,700 activities led by 215 guests from 69 countries targeting all age groups and diverse interests. Furthermore, 127 Arab and international guests from 33 countries will steer 460 cultural activities, encompassing panel discussions, immersive workshops, and sessions spanning various artistic expressions and literary genres.