Monthly Archives: July 2012

Friday at Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival

9am saw another very busy room at the start of the first full day at this year’s festival.  Special guest John Connolly seems to always draw a good crowd and rightly so.  His double-act with festival Chair Mark Billingham is always good value and this was no exception.  Covering the author’s highly popular Charlie Parker series, his standalone work (in particular The Book of Lost Things which Billingham confessed brought him to tears) and even the recent film adaptation of his short story The New Daughter to film with Kevin Costner, this was a great event to kick start Friday.

Advice from John Connolly for any new writers in the audience was to ‘write your books in the privacy of your bedroom – like other solo activities!

There’s a excellent piece on John Connolly’s other passions at We Love this Book, here.

The next panel I sat in on was ‘Crime in Another Dimension’ in which authors discussed the different setting and timelines in which ‘crime’ fiction can still work. Chaired by David Quantick, who described typewriters to a confused panel as being ‘like an iPad but made of metal!’ Full of comedy and interesting insights; Christopher Fowler revealed that there is a nose within Admiralty Arch (possibly for Policemen to rest their spectacles on) and Stuart MacBride talked about the current trend for ‘mash-ups’ with the possibility raised that he would one day bring us ‘Winnie the Pooh and the Silence of the Piglets!’

The early afternoon panel ‘Wanted for Murder: The E-Book’ was always going to stir up emotions within the panel and audience, but I don’t think anyone quite expected the resultant friction that was created by a barrage of seemingly self-sacrificing  comments from Stephen Leather on the panel.  Twitter was on fire with each comment made and resultant responses and this is something that, one week on, is still gaining momentum as the debate continues on social networking sites.

If you missed out, then probably the best report on the panel can be found here ‘Mark Billingham goes Hell for Leather.’

The ‘America’s got Talent’ panel was another great sit-in, with chair John Connolly setting off to ridicule Chris Mooney at every opportunity during introductions (something he took in very good humour).  Connolly seemed at pains to abuse the US panel at every possibility with the comment ‘What the Hell is wrong with you people?!’ but there was a clear mutual respect throughout the conversation. This was despite the fact that one member of the panel, Ryan David Jahn, clearly upset writers on the stage and in the audience by declaring that he loves deadlines and when faced with one he can often achieve up to 12,000 words a day!  The audience were also very pleased to hear from rising star, Gillian Flynn, that she is currently writing a screenplay for her breakthrough novel Gone Girl.

At 10pm the room became the location for ‘The Drinking Detectives’ pub’ – a great setting complete with pub sign and bar with working pumps to enable Ian Rankin and Peter Robinson to sit and chat in their perfect environment.  This was a return after 10 years for the authors to share a pint and discuss their work and their characters on stage.  Introduced by Mark Billingham, who poured their first pints, sorted out their crisps and then left them to it, this was a very entertaining late night discussion full of wonderful anecdotes and news.  Robinson declared that when it comes to people’s perception of Alan Banks on screen, there is only ONE Banks and he is in his mind.  Rankin is often asked if McCafferty is alive or dead and he simply stated that he is in the upcoming new Rebus book ‘Standing in another Man’s Grave’ –  a title based on a misheard Jackie Leven song title.  Rankin himself admitted that he had mis-credited a song ‘I can see clearly now’ to Marvin Gaye in his novel ‘Black and Blue’ whereas it should have been Jimmy Cliff, but he has left it in all editions as a self-punishment for his error.

When asked if there have been many changes in the last 10 years, Robinson stated that there are now too many new writers!

When discussing old jobs, Rankin described himself as the ‘Schindler of the chicken farm’ as he would often save some male chicks from the gas chamber.

Discussion turned to the ’50 Shades of Grey’ phenomena – with Rankin quipping ‘I’ve read Jilly Cooper, why would I read 50 Shades…?’

Pausing only briefly halfway through to pour themselves a second pint, this was a great hour’s entertainment and the only panel where an author (Rankin) has been heard to ask that not too many people come and get their books signed afterwards – as he was keen to get home for a Dr John concert the next day 🙂

Keith

(photos copyright Tim Cook).

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Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award

Launching at its customary 8pm on Thursday night slot, it was a packed house for the opening night of the 10th Anniversary of the biggest crime writing festival in Europe and the 2012 Crime Novel of the Year Award ceremony.

Opened by festival Chief Executive Sharon Canavar, this was a vintage year for the gathered crowd with a great final shortlist of six great crime books and their authors up for the prize – a really tough one to call.  I felt especially pleased and sorry (in equal doses) for the team at Orion publishers who had two authors on the shortlist, so I’m sure there were some serious ups and downs during the evening for them.

Simon Theakston, Executive Director at T&R Theakston, took to the stage to talk about the company’s proud and continued sponsorship with the festival and to make as many tenuous, and often humorous, links as he could to the brewery and its association with the world of crime writing. He closed by warning us that in the party bar after the awards the festival-only brew of ‘Crime of Passion’ would once again be available if we wanted to take our chances with a brew that had a distinct hint of almonds (or was that arsenic?) contained within.

Top arts broadcaster Mark Lawson was back again this year to introduce each shortlisted author and their book to the stage (with the exception of Chris Brookmyre who, in true Oscars style was unable to attend as he was in Australia).  Lawson began proceedings by saying that the security of the festival was being handled by G4S and that they had been under pressure to ensure that some Olympic-themed activities took place during the festival this year: This was to include such events as Beach Volleyball with ValMcDermid and Tania Carver!

Lawson refused to let slip anything about the recipient of this year’s lifetime achievement award until it was time for that part of the show, saying he wouldn’t let anything slip in code, not even in Morse code….!

With Chris Brookmyre absent, his book: Where the Bodies Are Buried, was introduced by Lawson and his prize for being shortlisted was collected by his publishers, and then each author in turn came to the stage to collect their shortlist prize and to talk briefly about their novel.

SJ Bolton for Now You See Me.

John Connolly for The Burning Soul.

Denise Mina for The End of the Wasp Season.

Steve Mosby for Black Flowers.

SJ Watson for Before I Go to Sleep.

But, before it was time to announce the winner, it was time to unveil the winner of the lifetime achievement award and a swift standing ovation followed the news as Inspector Morse creator Colin Dexter took to the stage.

In scenes akin to seeing PD James collect her own award last year for the same, Dexter was aided to the stage but, once in place behind the lectern, he was wonderful speaker, full of passion, great humour and gave a very moving speech ending with thanks to the ‘happy band of crime writers’.

And then it was time for the announcement of the Crime Novel of the Year……which went to a very shocked (so shocked she couldn’t even swear) Denise Mina for The End of the Wasp Season.

A great opening to a great weekend – following which many went to sample the ‘Crime of Passion’ and, although I didn’t do a headcount, I think we all made it through to the next morning…..

Keith

(all photos Copyright: Tim Cook)

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HARKER – The Book of Solomon by Roger Gibson & Vince Danks

Published by Titan Books

Roger Gibson and Vince Danks’ homage to classic police detective TV shows comes to life in a perfectly executed murder mystery set in the heart of London.

When the discovery of a disemboweled corpse on the steps of a Hawksmoor church points to ritualistic murder, the ensuing police investigation brings cynical DCI Harker and his assistant DS Critchley to the UK’s capital to clean up the bloody mess. The trail leads to the British Museum and a shadowy group of occultists whose shocking agenda marks the beginning of one of Harker’s more disturbing cases. . .

I have just had the surreal experience of reading this great graphic novel at breakfast this morning and then spending this afternoon in the same area of Bloomsbury in which it is set.  Between them, Gibson and Danks, have managed to capture the look and feel of the British Museum and the surrounding streets perfectly – I only wish I was able to also seek out the dark underbelly of the same area in which they portray the occultists and their labyrinthine lair below. It’s not overcomplicated in its panel layout or overly complex in its art, going for a neat illustrative black and white sketch look rather than the painterly style adopted by many graphic novels in recent years, but it works perfectly well for this Sherlock meets Dennis Wheatley style tale.

The characters are interesting and humorous and play on the long tradition of the junior member of the team (DS Critchley) being the one that does most of the work and has most of the answers, whilst the main investigator (DCI Harker) is seemingly  bumbling his way forward and acting on blind luck rather than deep investigative procedure.

If you like detective stories, noir, or modern Sherlock-like tales, this is for you. It will also appeal to those with a passion for similar crime meets supernatural comic titles such as Hellblazer.

Well worth investigating…..and you can get your copy right here.

Keith

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My Timeline for the 2012 Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival

I felt the need to put this together from my notebook scraps for two reasons.

Firstly, to serve as an aid of sorts to remind me where the hell I was for four days so that I can get some grip on just how they flew by so quickly and to hopefully enable me to start to construct something worthwhile from my notes over the forthcoming days.

Secondly, by way of an apology for the fact that conversations with friends both old and new were often brief (to say the least) and for me constantly referring to my watch and diary in a fashion which must, at times, had the appearance of some crackpot trainspotter rushing away at the sudden news of a rare carriage pulling in at another platform.

All that said, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, loved the ‘full-on’ crime festival experience and can only praise Erica Morris, Sharon Canavar and their team, the Riot Communications team and this year’s Chair, Mark Billingham, for such a fantastic tenth year of the festival.

I’m all set to book accommodation for the 2013 festival and to buy a bigger suitcase for that one, it was a squeeze with those books for the return trip!  So, here’s a copy of my schedule – I hope to fill in any blanks and more detail as soon as poss in future blogs:

Thurs 19th July

9.00am – Leave home and walk to the station.

9.28am – Train to London Victoria.

10.17am – Tube to Kings Cross.

11.00am – Train to York.

1.11pm – Train from York to Harrogate

1.43 – Arrive at Harrogate

2-ish – Check into Bed & Breakfast, unpack, shower, get set for the launch day.

4pm – Meet @milorambles at his Hotel reception and head into town for a sit down at Betty’s tea rooms

5pm – Meet lots of twitter friends old and new (far too many to mention) in Wetherspoons pub for drinks.

6pm – Head to The Old Swan Hotel, collect passes/tickets and chat to the Riot Communications team and the Festival team.

7pm – Drinks in the bar with the Vintage/Harvill Secker/Random House team and their authors.

8pm – The Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award and Opening night party.

Remain in the bar and around the festival hotel until around 1.30am.

Slow walk back to the B&B, get things ready for the next day and type a very brief blog.

Friday 20th July

7am – up and getting ready

8am -Breakfast, blog a press release for Transworld’s latest author, walk back to The Old Swan.

9am – John Connolly on stage interviewed by Mark Billingham

10am – I interview Arne Dahl in the Library and then get a photo shoot with him courtesy of his good lady wife.

10.45am – Creep in late to the 10.30 panel, Crime in Another Dimension.

11.30am – I interview Jason Webster in the Library (worth noting that ‘The Library’ is the only room in the hotel that didn’t have a single book).

Had to miss the Drawing the Line Panel due to overlapping things.

12.30 – Lunch with Orion new crime fiction authors A.J. Cross, Harry Bingham and Mark Peterson (manage to spill lovely orange sauce on my white shirt whilst there).

2pm – Wanted for Murder – The eBook panel. (I’m sure you’ve all already read lots on that one….)

3pm – Took a break to return to B&B, shower and change and write another brief blog post.

5pm – America’s Got Talent panel chaired by John Connolly.

6pm –  Drinks reception with Hodder authors and team in the ‘Red Room’ (which was green and white, but not red at all….)

8.00pm – Drinks reception with Little Brown authors and team (plus a host of others) in the Spiegeltent on the green.

Overlapping events meant I missed the Kate Mosse event.

10pm – Ian Rankin and Peter Robinson on stage together (with pints pulled and crisps supplied by Mark Billingham).

11pm – To the bar area until around 2.30am.

Saturday 21st

8am -Breakfast and walk to the Old Swan.

9am- Peter James interviewed by Paul Blezard.

10am – coffee break !

10.30am-The Golden Age panel.

11.30am – I interview Ryan David Jahn in three locations in a 25 minute period.

12noon – New Blood panel chaired by Val McDermid.

1pm – I interview Stuart Neville in the Media Suite.

1.45pm – Visited Mr Beaumont at another part of the main festival which Sharon Canavar directed me to, to discuss a favourite music track. (missing the Deadlier than the Male panel) then took the opportunity to have a few relaxed chats in the bar area and to intake a sandwich and yet more coffee.

3.30pm – A Donkey in the Grand National panel.

4.30pm – Coffee !

5pm – Luther panel chaired by Miranda Sawyer

6pm – I interview Oliver Harris in the Media Suite

6.45pm – Bat out of hell run back to B&B, shower, change for the evening, meet @milorambles at his hotel reception by 7.15pm.

7.30pm-Drinks at the Henley Vineyards Room at Hotel Du Vin with Transworld authors and their team ahead of dinner at 8pm, meaning missing Harlan Coben in discussion with Laura Lippman.

9.45pm – Head back to The Old Swan.

10pm- The Late Night Quiz and the fantastic news that Suzi Holliday on our team won a major prize in the raffle – she will be a character in the next Peter James novel!  Almost made up for the fact that we didn’t win the quiz 🙂

11pm – The hotel bar until around 2am then walked back to B&B.

2.15am-started packing

3am – fell asleep

Sunday 22nd July

6am-woke and finished packing.

8am- breakfast with suitcase by my side.

8.30am – Left the B&B – walked back to The Old Swan

9am – I interview Deon Meyer in the Green Room/Penthouse.

10am – 50 Words for Murder panel chaired by Sir Barry of Forshaw.

11am – coffee !

11.30am – Jo Nesbo interviewed by Mark Lawson.

12.30am – The chance to see a few friends, old and new, on the lawn outside the hotel, oh, and coffee.

1.15pm – I interview Jo Nesbo in the Library (and still not a book in the place…)

1.45pm – A few goodbyes in the bar and then head off to walk to the station.

Train delayed until 15.25 – Go in search of coffee and a sandwich and catch up on twitter activity.

15.25pm – Lots of familiar faces pile on the train to Leeds and I get a chance to finally have a good natter with David Jackson and with David Hewson’s editor en route.

Leeds – change for train to Kings Cross. Unpack laptop and make a start on my crime novel, 1200 words in my eyes are telling me that’ll do for the day.

Kings Cross to Victoria by tube.

Victoria mainline to my local station.

Home at 8pm.

Collapse.

But all such excellent fun – more soon….

Keith

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Talking to the Dead by Harry Bingham

Published by Orion

For rookie detective constable Fiona Griffiths, her first major investigation promises to be a tough initiation into Cardiff’s dark underbelly.

A young woman and her six-year-old daughter have been found brutally murdered in a squalid flat, the single clue a platinum credit card belonging to a millionaire businessman who died in a plane crash six months before.

For her fellow cops, it’s just another case of a low-rent prostitute meeting the wrong kind of client and coming to a nasty end, but Fiona is convinced that the tragic lives and cruel deaths of this mother and daughter are part of a deeper, darker mystery.

Fiona, however, has secrets of her own.

She is still recovering from a crushing psychological breakdown, and the feelings which haunt her are constantly threatening to undermine the mask of normality she has learned to wear.

As she begins to piece together a bizarre and terrifying conspiracy, Fiona finds that what makes her vulnerable also gives her a unique insight into the secrets of the dead, and in solving the murders of Janet and April Mancini she can begin to start solving the riddles of her own past.

This is most definitely one of those ‘I’d love to tell you lots more, but to do so would certainly spoil your enjoyment’ kind of crime fiction books.

I was fortunate and honoured to be invited along for a lunch with Harry Bingham and other Orion crime authors during the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival at the weekend and was amused to see him having to stall at talking about his own book when introduced to anyone who hadn’t read it.

When approaching a novel written by somebody known for writing guides on how to write it’s often a little disappointing, but from this crime debut it is made clear in the very first pages that Harry Bingham really knows what he’s talking about – this is a novel with a story and a character that will grab readers from page one and haul them inside.

The central crime plot is more than enough to keep the reader turning the pages, but it’s whatever is going on with Fiona in the background and the reasons for her strange reactions and behaviour that really get their hooks in.  And to discover that the reasoning behind her condition is something based on fact in the closing of the book will shake you to the core.

More please, and make it soon !

You can check out an interview with Harry Bingham here.

Keith

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Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival – Friday (afternoon/evening/night):

After a break, I returned to the 5pm panel ‘America’s Got Talent’ – chaired by John Connolly and kicking off with a humorous introduction to the panel which basically gave him the chance to verbally bash Chris Mooney on stage at every opportunity by comparing authors’ educational and publishing successes. The general theme which Connolly took to his four guests (Ryan David Jahn, Gillian Flynn, Chris Mooney and Megan Abbott) was ‘What the hell is wrong with you people?!’ – a line repeated at various intervals.  But when Mooney described a recently set up US company ‘Holy Smoke’ – that offers loved ones the option to have their deceased relative’s ashes placed into whatever calibre of ammunition they require, so they can then fire their loved one skywards or use to hunt their dinner – I think, at that point we all began to ask the same question that the chair raised. Essentially the panel resulted with the end game that all panels at the festival have – another long queue of keen crime fiction fans waiting in line to purchase some great new crime reads.

I was very kindly invited to two publishers’ events following the ‘America’ panel and the mix of authors and publishing teams at each showed once again, that this is a very supportive network and, above all, everyone is here for a good time.  Many thanks to Hodder and to Little Brown for their kind hospitality.

And then, we were there, the biggest ticket of the night, ten years in the waiting:

Ian Rankin and Peter Robinson returned to the stage in conversation within a bar set – first pints pulled by landlord Mr Billingham (who seemed to then take the evening off after fetching their crisps).  A packed room of keen fans of both writers in a perfect setting, to hear them discuss their writing, their characters (Rebus & Banks), their early careers and jobs, and their next works. A top value event, and one that had the rare occurrence of an author asking for people to NOT queue to meet him and get books signed afterwards, as Mr Rankin was keen to head home (with a ticket to see Dr John perform the following day 🙂

More comments and notes to be added later – it’s now almost time for Saturday’s events to start, beginning with Peter James interviewed by Paul Blezard.

Keith

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Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival – Harrogate – Friday

The first full day of the event is just over the halfway mark and, to be honest, the pace is such that a required recharge of batteries, phone charge and change of shirt (Chinese meal slippage over lunch) was very much needed.

The morning started off with a packed room (impressive showing after the late night yesterday for many) to greet guest of honour, John Connolly, to the stage to discuss his work with festival Chair Mark Billingham.  I’ve had the good fortune to see them in conversation on a few occasions in the past, so knew it would be an entertaining and good start to the day – filled with nice anecdotes and discussion – it certainly did not disappoint.

Rushing from the room just prior to the end of the event, I was very pleased to be given the opportunity to meet and chat with Arne Dahl (having recently enjoyed his first UK published book ‘The Blinded Man.  Interview will be posted when the dust has settled on the festival trip.

I then managed to catch about half of the ‘Crime in another Dimension’ panel – but it was certainly enough to get a great flavour of the writers’ styles and to pick up tips on yet more great books that I NEED to seek out.  Of particular note was the discussion on whether their should be a Pride and Prejudice with Machine Guns or Stuart MacBride’s bizarre but nevertheless somewhat appealing sounding ‘Winnie the Pooh & the Silence of the Piglets’ – I think he was joking, but who knows what we might expect from Mr MacBride?

Second interview opportunity of the day came with the chance to sit down with Jason Webster, whose second Max Camara novel ‘A Death in Valencia’ has just been published – again, the interview will appear on the blog as soon as poss.

A lovely meal followed at the Chinese restaurant in town, thanks to Orion books, and was very nice to spend some time with their new crime authors A.J. Cross ‘Gone in Seconds’, Harry Bingham ‘Talking to the Dead’ and Mark Peterson ‘Flesh and Blood’.  A nice lunch, only spoiled by the aforementioned food spillage on a white shirt !

But the shirt had to wait, and I am so glad it did, as the ‘Wanted for Murder – The E-Book’ panel was probably the most passionate event I have so far witnessed at the festival.  With Stephen Leather on the panel, so passionate about the power of ebooks and on his sales in particular, he was on more than one occasion up against the wrong argument and defence of ‘real’ books and real pricing by other members of the panel and audience.  Passions raised high and on more than one occasion authors were applauded for their defence – Laura Lippman and Mark Billingham delivering impassioned reactions to comments made on stage.

Okay, coffee’s nearly gone cold, phone’s charged – it’s time to start getting ready to head back to more of the festival…..

Keith

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Breaking News: Sphere prepare to launch THE CRIME VAULT

Sphere have announced the launch of a major new digital initiative, The Crime Vault, a platform for crime, thriller, and mystery e-books. The Crime Vault will be unique in its focus on both backlist and frontlist titles previously unavailable in the UK, as well as frontlist bestsellers and backlist titles from across Little, Brown Book Group. Titles acquired specially for The Crime Vault will be priced £2.99.

Backed by dedicated enewsletters and social-media marketing, www.thecrimevault.com will launch on 1 December 2012 with hundreds of titles, including new books from Charles Finch, Jennifer Hillier, Edgar nominee Bryan Gruley, Tom Clancy co-writer Mark Greaney, and international bestseller Sara Blaedel, alongside newly digitized decades-old backlist classics and leading frontlist digital bestsellers. New titles will be acquired and added monthly, and the most successful titles will move into print after their initial digital publication.

Sphere publisher Daniel Mallory said: ‘As the UK’s leading crime and thriller publisher, we’re excited to position The Crime Vault as the leading online destination for crime e.books and as the Internet’s most dynamic community for crime fans. No other digital venture in publishing offers this range and mix of genre content.’

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Breaking News!

 

Paula Daly at the festival on Saturday…….Read more:

 

Transworld Publishers are delighted to announce the acquisition of two novels by UK debut author Paula Daly.

 

Rachel Rayner, Commissioning Editor, bought Just What Kind of Mother Are You? and The Day Before You Came from agent Jane Gregory at a lively auction involving six major publishers.

 

Just What Kind of Mother Are You? is a novel that plays on one of your greatest fears – what would you do if your best friend’s daughter went missing on your watch? That’s what happens to Lisa Kallisto – an overwhelmed working mother of three – one freezing December day in the Lake District. Not only is thirteen-year-old Lucinda missing and it’s all Lisa’s fault, but she’s the second teenage girl to go missing from the area in the last fortnight. But, as she peels away the layers surrounding Lucinda’s disappearance, Lisa learns that all is not quite as it first appears to be.

 

“I’m incredibly excited to be working with Paula Daly at the beginning of what I’m sure will be a brilliant career. Just What Kind of Mother Are You?, with its terrifying premise, distinctive voice and cracking plot, has that instant word-of-mouth quality, evidenced by the enthusiastic in-house reads and immediate buzz from my colleagues across all departments here,” said Rachel Rayner.

 

“It has been an exciting auction and I’m thrilled that Transworld are publishing,” said Jane Gregory.

 

Paula Daly said: “I am absolutely delighted to be published by Transworld. It’s a real honour to be in the company of such incredibly talented authors as Kate Atkinson, SJ Watson and Belinda Bauer.”

 

Just What Kind of Mother Are You? will be published in Bantam Press hardcover and ebook in Spring 2013, with Paula’s second novel The Day Before You Came to come a year later. Transworld Publishers hold UK & Commonwealth (excluding Canada) rights for both books. Internationally, rights have already been sold in Germany (Goldmann Verlag), Italy (Longanesi), Holland (De Fontein (De Kern)) and Israel (Kinneret-Zmora-Dvir Publishing).

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Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival – The Opening Night

Ten years on and the festival is showing no signs of flagging – quite the opposite, it’s growing in popularity and attendance if tonight’s (Thursday’s) opening night was anything to go by.

A fantastic who’s who of the greatest names in crime fiction from across the globe have begun their takeover of The Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate for another long weekend of criminal activities.

The festival kicked off in style with the Crime Novel of the Year Award and a special Lifetime Achievement Award. In the latter the happy recipient, Colin Dexter, gave a lovely moving, funny and heartfelt speech and thanked the ‘happy band of crime writers’

We may be using #TOPcrime2012 as our hashtag this year with the ‘TOP’ being for ‘Theakstons Old Peculier’, but this festival is ‘TOP’ in many more ways than just the acronym. 

 

THE END OF THE WASP SEASON BY DENISE MINA WINS THEAKSTONS OLD PECULIER CRIME NOVEL OF THE YEAR AWARD

COLIN DEXTER COLLECTS OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO CRIME FICTION AWARD

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Scottish author Denise Mina has tonight scooped the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award with her ninth book The End of the Wasp Season.  One of the most prestigious crime writing prizes in the country, the Glaswegian writer was presented the award by title sponsor Simon Theakston, at the opening night party of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate.

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Beating off stiff competition from a shortlist that included SJ Watson’s smash hit debut Before I Go To Sleep; veteran crime writer John Connolly’s The Burning Soul; and Steve Mosby’s acclaimed Black Flowers; this is the first time that Mina has been awarded the coveted accolade. Collecting a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade oak cask provided by Theakstons Old Peculier, Mina expressed her shock at her win:

 

“I’m only here to prove I’m a good sport! I’ve lost a tenner in a bet! There’s something lovely about the collegiate attitude of crime writers and together it makes us ball-sier! I’m a bit blown away to be honest. I was really blown away by being on the shortlist. I’m so astonished I can’t even swear!”

 

Born in Glasgow in 1966, Mina grew up in various locations in Europe thanks to her father’s work as an engineer.  Having left school at sixteen she tried her hand at a number of jobs including meat factory worker, kitchen porter and cook, before returning to education to study Law at Glasgow University followed by a PhD at Strathclyde University.  She wrote her debut novel, Garnethill when she was supposed to be studying!  In addition to writing crime fiction novels, Mina also writes comics, short stories, stage plays and even a graphic novel. Her latest book isGods and Beasts.

 

Now in its eighth year, the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, in partnership with Asda – who is promoting the shortlisted titles in stores nationwide – and 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 from 1st June 2011 to 31st May 2012.

 

The overall winner was decided by a public vote and a panel of experts which this year was comprised of DI Tom Thorne actor David Morrissey; Festival chair Mark BillinghamDaily Mirror Literary Editor and crime novelistHenry Sutton; Asda Fiction Buyer Ruth Lewis; and Simon Theakston, Executive Director of T&R Theakston Ltd.

 

Tonight too, a special presentation was made to the winner of the third Theakstons Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award, which this year was awarded to Colin Dexter, creator of Inspector Morse.

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Born in Lincolnshire in 1930, Dexter won a scholarship to the local grammar school and, after completing his National Service, went on to study at Cambridge. Since 1966 he has lived in Oxford with his wife, with whom he has two children. After retiring from a 13-year teaching career, he began writing mysteries in 1973 while on a family holiday. His debut novel, Last Bus to Woodstock, was published in 1975 and introduced the world to Inspector Morse for the first time. One of the most iconic detectives ever to have been created, Morse’s crime-solving talents found a whole new audience in the successful TV series, bringing further acclaim for Dexter. Inspector Morse has appeared in 13 novels and numerous short stories. Dexter has won many awards for his novels, including the CWA Silver Dagger twice and the CWA Gold Dagger for both The Wench is Dead and The Way Through the Woods. In 1997, he was presented with the CWA Diamond Dagger for outstanding services to crime literature and, in 2000, was awarded the OBE in The Queen’s Birthday Honours.

 

Dexter said: “Never had I thought that the gods would be kindly enough to give me such a huge honour so late in my life. Yet here I am, in my early eighties, feeling a profound and heartfelt gratitude for the great honour bestowed on me.”

 

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

“Denise Mina is a fantastically talented writer and The End of the Wasp Season is a thoroughly deserving winner and a great example of ‘tartan noir’. It was a very tough decision this year as all the books on the shortlist were outstanding in different ways but I’m delighted to be able to hand the trophy to Denise, the first woman to have woman since 2008, for this hugely atmospheric and haunting book.

 

“I’m also delighted and privileged to welcome Colin Dexter to Harrogate to collect his much- deserved Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award. Few writers are as prolific as Colin has been over his long and varied career and even fewer create a character as iconic and well-loved as Morse. This award acknowledges Colin’s huge contribution not only to crime fiction and to British culture, but also to real ale. Few detectives enjoy a pint better than Morse!”

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