Longlist revealed for Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year #TheakstonAward

I’m delighted to be able to share the longlist for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award for 2021 on my blog today.

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Harrogate, 5 May 2021: Today, the longlist of the UK and Ireland’s most prestigious crime novel award is unveiled with literary legends and dynamic debuts in contention for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year.

Now in its 17th year, the most coveted prize in crime fiction, presented by Harrogate International Festivals celebrates crime writing at its best. This year’s longlist transports readers around the world from California to Sweden and Calcutta to a remote Irish island and explores every subgenre from Scandi noir to murderous families.

The line-up of returning champions is led by crime fiction titan Ian Rankin, who has received a nod for his A Song for The Dark TimesMark Billingham, hoping for a third win with his Cry Baby, and Steve Cavanagh looking to beat the competition with Fifty Fifty.

This year’s longlist recognises a number of authors who have previously never been listed by the prize. Hoping to claim the trophy on their first appearance are Lucy Foley with her No.1 Sunday Times Best Seller The Guest List, Chris Whitaker with We Begin at The End, Scottish author Doug Johnstone with The Big Chill and Liz Nugent with Our Little Cruelties, and Jane Caseywith herlatest Maeve Kerriganinstalment The Cutting Place.

The longlist also features several previously nominated authors hoping to go one step further and clinch the trophy with Elly Griffiths securing her seventh pick for her much lauded The Lantern Men and Susie Steiner getting her third nod for Remain Silent and Brian McGilloway’s second nomination for The Last Crossing, and best-selling author Louise Candlish hoping to win on her second pick with The Other Passenger.

Joining these outstanding names is the undisputed ‘Queen of Crime’herself, Val McDermid with her newest Karen Pirie novel Still Life. Celebrated in the industry for her impeccable ability to select emerging talent for the annual New Blood panel at Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, McDermid find herself competing against many New Blood alumni including: Will Dean for his latest Scandi noir Black River; Eva Dolan for the newest instalment of her critically-acclaimed Zigic and Ferreira series,Abir Mukherjee’s new Calcutta and Assam-inspired Death in the East, and finally Trevor Wood – who has gone from the 2020 New Blood panel to longlisted for Crime’s biggest award.

The full longlist for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2021 is:

–          Cry Baby by Mark Billingham (Little, Brown Book Group, Sphere)

–          The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish (Simon & Schuster)

–          The Cutting Place by Jane Casey (HarperCollins, HarperFiction)

–          Fifty Fiftyby Steve Cavanagh (The Orion Publishing Group, Orion Fiction)

–          Black River by Will Dean (Oneworld Publications, Point Blank)

–          Between Two Evils by Eva Dolan (Bloomsbury Publishing, Raven Books)

–          The Guest List by Lucy Foley (HarperCollins, HarperFiction)

–          The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths (Quercus, Quercus Fiction)

–          The Big Chill by Doug Johnstone (Orenda Books)

–          Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton (Penguin Random House UK, Viking)

–          Still Life by Val McDermid (Little, Brown Book Group, Sphere)

–          The Last Crossing by Brian McGilloway (Little, Brown Book Group, Constable)

–          Death in the East by Abir Mukherjee (VINTAGE, Harvill Secker)

–          Our Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent (Penguin, Sandycove)

–          A Song For The Dark Times by Ian Rankin (Orion, Orion Fiction)

–          Remain Silent by Susie Steiner (HarperCollins Publishers, The Borough Press)

–          We Begin At The End by Chris Whitaker (Bonnier Books UK, Zaffre)

–          The Man on the Street by Trevor Wood (Quercus, Quercus Fiction)

Executive director of T&R Theakston, Simon Theakston, said“The way the global obsession with the crime genre continues to grow year on year is simply astonishing and this year’s longlist proves the remarkable talent on offer in crime writing– from legends of the craft to eager-eyed newcomers. The shortlist is already too close to call so we encourage all to get voting! A hearty toast of Old Peculier to all longlisted authors for this coveted award – and we look forward to what we know will be a fiercely fought competition!”

Run by Harrogate International Festivals, the shortlist will be announced in June and the winner on 22 July, at the opening evening of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival – with the public able to vote for the winner on harrogatetheakstoncrimeaward.com.

The award is run by Harrogate International Festivals sponsored by T&R Theakston Ltd, in partnership with WHSmith and the Express, and is open to full length crime novels published in paperback 1 May 2020 to 30 April 2021 by UK and Irish authors.

The longlist was selected by an academy of crime writing authors, agents, editors, reviewers, members of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Programming Committee, and representatives from T&R Theakston Ltd, the Express, and WHSmith.

The public are now invited to vote for a shortlist of six titles on www.harrogatetheakstoncrimeaward.com, which will be announced in June. The winner will be revealed on the opening night of Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Thursday 22 July, and will receive £3,000, and a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakston Old Peculier.

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Last week I traveled to Harrogate on Thursday, 19th July 2018 to attend the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival for the first time. I’ve been toying with the idea of going to the festival for a couple of years, so last year I finally plucked up the courage and booked myself a ticket, and I’m so glad I did. I’d already previously attended CrimeFest back in May, but they are both very different to each other. I arrived feeling slightly nervous but once I got into the stride of things and met up with a few friends, I began to really enjoy myself. I’ve already booked for next year and I will be urging myself to be braver and speak to more people and I think I’ll definitely be making a trip to Betty’s tea rooms.

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Shortly after arriving I attended Noir at the Bar and met up with Jen Lucas from Jen Med’s Book Reviews, Abigail Osborne, Mandie Griffiths and Mary Picken from Live And Deadly. I also finally got to meet Diane Jeffrey who’s books Those Who Lie and He Will Find You I really enjoyed reading.

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Danielle Ramsey reading from The Last Cut   Howard Linskey reading from The Chosen Ones

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Louise Mangos reading from Strangers On A Bridge   Jackie Baldwin reading from Perfect Dead

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Roz Watkins reading from The Devil’s Dice

I’m rubbish at taking photos anywhere I go so these are some of the very few I took. After a quick walk back to The Old Swan we went to see the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers in action; a rock band which consists of Val McDermid, Chris Brookmyer, Mark Billingham, Luca Veste, Stuart Neville and Doug Johnstone. They’re absolutely brilliant so if you ever get the chance to see them, I would recommend going along.

The majority of the festival was spent mingling on the green outside The Old Swan but I did walk into Harrogate a couple of times and I will definitely be taking a trip to Betty’s tea rooms next year. I only went to see two panels over the weekend, Val McDermid’s New Blood Panel which featured: Will Dean, Dervla McTiernan, C J Tudor and Stuart Turton. I also attended a talk with Val McDermid and Sue Black where they discussed Sue’s latest novel, All That Remains. The subject line was a little heavy at times but the talk was absolutely fascinating. If you ever get the chance to hear Sue speak about her career do go along.

Of course I arrived home with a stack of books to read, including a sampler of Angela Clarke’s next novel On My Life, which I managed to get signed.

Over the weekend it was great to catch up with Sam Carrington, Libby Carpenter, Karen Sullivan, Fiona Cummins, Felicia Yap, Chris Whitaker, Amer Anwar, Rachel Emms, Liz Barnsley, Vicki Goldman, Joy Kluver, Jen Lucas, Mandie Griffiths and Tracey Fenton. I also met some new people too for the first time including, Kate Maloney, Noelle Holten, Claire Knight, Sarah Hardy, Susan Hampson, Amanda Robson, Amanda Reynolds, Kim Nash, Emma Welton and Rod Reynolds.

It was definitely a full on weekend. If you’re thinking of booking for next year, I highly recommend you do so. I can’t wait to return in 2019.