Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Shortlist Announced!

Okay, the strict embargo has just been lifted and here’s the news……….

Big congratulations to the shortlisted authors and commiserations to those who didn’t get through – but it was a hell of a line up this year, I’m sure you’ll agree.



Debut novelist William Ryan has been given the public’s seal of approval today, as one of the chosen few to make this year’s shortlist for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. One of the most prestigious crime writing prizes in the country, the newcomer will be battling for the coveted prize amongst five crime fiction stalwarts.


Also on the shortlist is Mark Billingham, looking to make this year a hat-trick after winning the prize in 2005 and 2009 (for Lazy Bones and Death Message respectively). Lee Child, meanwhile, will be hoping that this will be his lucky year; the bestselling author has yet to win the prize, despite the fact that one of his Jack Reacher novels sells somewhere in the world every few seconds. Both authors will go head to head with last year’s Festival Chair Stuart MacBride, and Andrew Taylor, whose Cambridge-set historical chiller Anatomy of Ghosts won much critical praise upon publication.


Lancashire-born SJ Bolton is the only woman to have made the cut with Blood Harvest. Having burst onto the crime scene in 2008, she has been hailed the “high priestess of rural gothic crime”.


The shortlist in full:

•From The Dead by Mark Billingham (Sphere)

•Blood Harvest by SJ Bolton (Corgi Books)

•61 Hours by Lee Child (Bantam Books)

•Dark Blood by Stuart MacBride (Harper Fiction)

•The Holy Thief by William Ryan (Pan Books)

•The Anatomy of Ghosts by Andrew Taylor (Michael Joseph)


Now in its seventh year, the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, in partnership with Asda, and this year in association with the Daily Mirror, was created to celebrate the very best in crime writing and is open to British and Irish authors whose novels were published in paperback between 1st January 2010 and 31st May 2011.


The winner of the prize will be announced by radio broadcaster and festival regular Mark Lawson on the opening night of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate on Thursday 21st July. The winner will receive a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakstons Old Peculier.


On the same night, a special presentation will be made to the winner of the second Theakstons Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award, which this year is presented to P.D. James.


Born in Oxford in 1920, Baroness James of Holland Park began writing in the 1950s. Her debut novel, Cover Her Face, was published in 1962 featuring her now famous investigator, Adam Dalgliesh. Many of her books have been adapted for film and television, including her 1992 novel Children of Men, which in 2006 was adapted for Hollywood, starring Clive Owen and directed by Alfonso Cuarón.


P.D. James said: “It is always a satisfaction and an encouragement for a writer to win a prize, but I am particularly proud to be honoured by the Theakstons Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award because it comes from Harrogate, a town which it is always a delight to visit and which is the home of one of the most distinguished and pleasurable English literary festivals.  I look forward very much to being in this beautiful town again and to receiving an award which, coming in my 91st year, means a great deal to me.”


Simon Theakston, Executive Director of T&R Theakston, said:

“I’m delighted to see that the public have recognised the talents of a broad range of authors in this year’s shortlist, from a debut novelist to names that have been bestsellers for several years. This list reflects the wealth of crime fiction talent we have within the UK and Ireland that continues to grow each year.


“We are also hugely honoured and excited to welcome the crime fiction grandmaster P.D. James to Harrogate this year, to collect her Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award. Few are as prolific as she, dominating the genre for over 50 years. This award acknowledges that immense achievement.”


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