Denise Mina has become the first woman to win the Gordon Burn Prize for her "brave and daring journey" into a notorious crime in novel The Long Drop (Harvill Secker).
Praised by the judges for turning "dreadful fact into eerily engaging fiction", The Long Drop is set in the late 1950s where a series of deeply disturbing and violent murders have shaken the city. It is based on the true story of William Watt, who wants answers about his family’s murders, and Peter Manuel, who has them.
Novelist, broadcaster and journalist Ian Sansom, one of the judges, said: “Denise Mina's The Long Drop is a truly startling and shocking work whose great literary ambition and inventiveness is matched by its moral complexity. In the opinion of the judges, the book upholds and continues that great tradition of literature both as a form of radical inquiry and as great pleasure, epitomised in the work of Gordon Burn.”
Mina has published 12 novels, as well as writing short stories, plays and a series of graphic novels adapted from Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy books (MacLehose). The Long Drop was published in March 2017 and garnered praise as “a masterpiece by the woman who may be Britain’s finest living crime novelist” from the Daily Telegraph, among other publications.
She was awarded the £5,000 prize on Thursday evening (12th October) at Durham Book Festival. Mina also wins a writer's retreat in Burn's Scottish cottage.
Mina beat off competition from a shortlist of six books made up of Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile by Adelle Stripe (Wrecking Ball Press), Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe by Kapka Kassabova (Granta Books), First Love by Gwendoline Riley (Granta Books), This Is Memorial Device by David Keenan (Faber & Faber) and This Is the Place to Be by Lara Pawson (CB Editions).
The prize was won last year by David Szalay for All That Man Is (Vintage).