J K Rowling under her pseudonym Robert Galbraith has progressed to the shortlist of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year.
The announcement today (31st May) revealed Galbraith on the shortlist for Career of Evil (Sphere), a book Rowling described in interview with Simon Mayo on Radio 2 last year as both "the darkest in the [Coroman Strike] series” and the most enjoyable book she's ever written.
Joining her, after whittling 18 longlisted titles to six, are fellow Sphere authors Mark Billingham for Time of Death, already a two-time winner of the award, and Clare Mackintosh for her debut psychological thriller I Let You Go, one of the fastest selling titles of 2015.
Going head to head with the Sphere pack is newcomer Eva Dolan for her second book Tell No Tales (Harvill Secker), as well as Adrian McKinty for his latest “Belfast noir” novel Rain Dogs (Seprent’s Tail), and Renee Knight for her debut Disclaimer (Black Swan) which has since sold overseas rights in 35 countries and to Fox Searchlight.
The award ceremony will be hosted by broadcaster Mark Lawson on 21st July on the opening night of the 14th Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate.
While knocked out of the running for this year’s award, Theakstons is awarding 'Queen of Crime' Val McDermid the Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award. She joins the ranks of past recipients Sara Paretsky, Lynda La Plante, Ruth Rendell, PD James, Colin Dexter and Reginald Hill.
Executive director of T&R Theakstons Ltd and Judge, Simon Theakston, said: “We’re particularly delighted to be honouring Val McDermid this year. On a personal note, Val had the vision to create this festival with Harrogate International Festivals back in 2003. Thanks to her far-reaching passion and generosity for crime fiction - for writers and readers alike – it has become the biggest celebration of the genre in the world. As a writer, she is rightfully known as the Queen of Crime. Val is very deserving of this accolade in the pantheon of legendary crime authors.”
The winner will receive a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade, engraved oak beer cask made by Theakstons Old Peculier.
Gemma Rowland, operations manager at Harrogate International Festivals, the arts organisation that delivers the festival, said: “2016’s winner will join the list of game changing authors who have won one of the most coveted awards over the last decade, including Denise Mina, Lee Child, and Sarah Hilary. The public’s vote is incredibly important as ultimately readers decide when it comes to judging a book’s worth, so I’d encourage everyone to make their voice heard – it’s free and simple to vote online.”
The overall winner will be decided by a panel of Judges, alongside the public vote. Online voting for the 2016 award will open to the public for shortlisted titles on Theakstons website on 1st July and close on the 15th July, before which time the books will feature in a seven-week campaign in 300 top WHSmith stores nationwide.
Picture: © Mary McCartney