WATCH: ThrillerFest 2020 Teaser Video with K.J. Howe & The Real Book Spy

For the first time ever, ThrillerFest—one of the biggest gatherings of thriller writers each year—is going virtual.

Due to COVID-19, ThrillerFest, which is always set at the Grand Hyatt in New York City, was forced to cancel their in-person events. However, much like we saw with the NFL Draft this year, just because they weren’t able to meet and hold their workshops in person, didn’t mean the show couldn’t go on in another form. So, mobilizing to move their presence online—an effort spearheaded by Executive Director Kim Howe (K.J. Howe when she’s writing thrillers of her own)—the team behind ThrillerFest was able to transition to a virtual conference this year.

And I have to say, after getting involved and seeing first-hand how this year’s event is shaping up, the transition has been seamless.

Whether you’re an aspiring author or just a fan of the genre, ThrillerFest is for you. In many ways, this is our ComicCon, but you know, with a lot fewer capes and superhero tights (hopefully). What you will find instead, though, is a who’s who of famous thriller authors. I’m mean, we’re talking everyone from George R.R. Marting and Ken Follett, to Brad Thor and Janet Evanovich. Want more big names? Check out the new graphic of this year’s participants below.

CraftFest Lineup

So, as you can see, it’s a stunning collection of top literary talent. And this is just for Mega Virtual CraftFest. There’s also Master Class, CareerFest, PitchFest, ConsultFest, plus debut author videos and even the Thriller Awards. Everything is taking place between July 6-14th, for more info (and to register) check out ITW’s official website here.

For my part, I’m a participant in CraftFest this time around and was blessed to be partnered with C.J. Box, Ted Bell, and Mike Maden, for three separate videos talking about everything from character development, story structure, conquering dialogue, and everything in between. As a fan, though, I’m intrigued by a number of pairings—and earlier this week, I had a chance to sit down (virtually, of course) with Kim Howe to talk about a few of their star-studded partnerings, as well as what other workshops are available. 

Check out the video below, then make sure to register and secure your place in ThrillerFest 2020 right away. See you there!

Register For ThrillerFest Today!


Praised as “One of the hardest working, most thoughtful, and fairest reviewers out there” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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