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Industry Insider – Getting it Write

4 October @ 14:00 - 15:00 BST

Virtual Event Virtual Event

Writing accurate scenes involving the police and crafting authentic plots around crime and prosecutions can be tricky. Research is key, but what are the stumbling blocks to writing believable police procedurals in your work? Whether you write crime fiction, thrillers, or your work in progress includes a police scene, learn the common mistakes made in books, films and TV from our panel of experts.

Clare Mackintosh, Stuart Gibbon, Matt Johnson and Nazir Afzal will discuss their experiences as ex-police officers and prosecutors and offer tips and advice for creating authentic characters and stories.

The event is in conjunction with our Society of Authors in Wales group. Find out more.

This event is for SoA members only. Not yet a member? You can join here



  • 5 mins – Welcome and introductions by Nazir Afzal


  • 50 mins – Discussion with Clare Mackintosh, Stuart Gibbon, Matt Johnson


  • 5 mins – Summary and closing comments


Send us your questions in advance

 If you would like to send questions in advance, email fhowell@societyofauthors.org with ‘Getting it Write’ in the subject header. We will prioritise questions sent in advance and answer as many questions as we can on the day.


SoA @ Home Fundraising Bookshop

Browse our virtual Bookshop.org and Blackwell’s stores, featuring books by authors and speakers taking part in the SoA @ Home Festival. When you make a purchase using our affiliate links, a percentage will go to the Authors’ Contingency Fund, providing hardship grants to authors in financial difficulty.


The line-up

Stuart Gibbon – true crime author

Stuart Gibbon is a former senior police officer who served for 30 years in London and the East Midlands. He joined the Metropolitan Police as a teenager and went on to become a detective at every rank, from Constable to Chief Inspector. As a DCI, he was in charge of a regional team responsible for the investigation of Murder cases.

Stuart now works with authors (GIB Consultancy) and provides advice on police procedures to ensure accuracy and authenticity. His clients range from bestselling authors to those who are just starting out on their writing journey and many in-between.

In addition to his consultancy service, Stuart writes true crime books. The first two, The Crime Writer’s Casebook and Being a Detective, have proved hugely popular, both with authors and crime fans. He is currently writing a series of reference guides to help authors, and filming for a true crime documentary series.



Matt Johnson

Matt Johnson served for 25 years as a soldier and Metropolitan Police officer. His debut novel Wicked Game – a spy/crime thriller – was published by Orenda Books in March 2016. The sequel, Deadly Game, was published March 2017, and the final part of the trilogy, End Game, in 2018.

Wicked Game was listed for a Crime Writers Association Dagger award, and in 2018 Matt was voted at #22 in the WH Smith UK national poll of the world’s best-ever crime writers.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes said of Matt’s books “From the first page to the last, an authentic, magnetic and completely absorbing read.”

In 1999, Matt was retired from the police with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Whilst undergoing treatment, he was encouraged by his counsellor to write about his career and his experience of murders, shootings and terrorism. His novels are the result of that process.



Clare Mackintosh – author

Clare Mackintosh is the multi-award-winning author of four Sunday Times bestselling novels. Her first three novels were all Richard and Judy Book Club picks. Translated into forty languages, her books have sold more than two million copies worldwide, have been New York Times and international bestsellers, and have spent a combined total of 60 weeks in the Sunday Times bestseller chart. Clare lives in North Wales with her husband and their three children. 
Web | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram



Nazir Afzal (chair) – Former Chief Prosecutor and Chief Executive of Britain’s police and crime commissioners

Nazir Afzal OBE was Chief Crown Prosecutor for north west England and formerly the Director in London. Most recently, he was Chief Executive of the country’s Police & Crime Commissioners. During his 24 year career, he has prosecuted the most high profile cases in the country, advised on many others, and led nationally on several legal topics including Violence against Women & Girls, child sexual abuse, and honour based violence. He was responsible for more than 100,000 prosecutions each year. His prosecutions of the so-called Rochdale grooming gang and hundreds of others were groundbreaking and drove the work that has changed the landscape of child protection. He is Chair of Hopwood Hall. He sits on the Independent Press Standards Organisation. He is National Adviser on Gender Based Violence to the Welsh Government, Independent member of Oxfam’s Safeguarding & Ethics Committee & Trustee of Association of Safeguarding Partners. His memoirs The Prosecutor were published in 2020 & are currently being adapted for a British multipart drama



Book your place using the registration form below.

All SoA @ Home professional development events are free for members only but, if you can afford it, we recommend a minimum £5 donation to the Authors’ Contingency Fund to help us support authors facing financial hardship during the health crisis. DONATE HERE


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Financial support for authors in need through the health crisis and beyond

Since March 2020, the Authors’ Contingency Fund has distributed over £1 million in small grants to authors facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

With at least 57% of authors facing financial losses during the pandemic, we have helped people struggling financially due to contractual, employment and event cancellations, others who have lost income due to illness, and others prevented from working because of caring responsibilities.

As the health crisis continues, applications for grants continue to come in, and our emergency funds are running low.

So, if you are in a position to help, please donate via the link below. If you are an author facing financial hardship, please click here to see if we can help.


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20% off your first year with discount code SOAFESTIVAL20

The Society of Authors is the UK’s biggest trade union for authors – representing more than 11,300 writers, illustrators, translators and other creative practitioners.

Our standard subscription rate is just £26.25 per quarter (£18.50 for students).

As an SoA member, you’ll get:

  • Access to all our SoA @ Home Festival events for free
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  • A range of member-only discounts, including books, insurance and travel
  • And much more.



4 October
14:00 - 15:00 BST
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Sophia A Jackson