Bestselling crime writer Peter James has been awarded the Crime Writers' Association's highest honour: the CWA Diamond Dagger.
The CWA Diamond Dagger is awarded each year to a writer who has a career "marked by sustained excellence" and has made "a significant contribution" to English-language crime writing.
James, who has written 28 novels and sold over 16 million books worldwide, is best known for his series of crime books featuring the adventures of Detective Superintendent Roy Grace. The books are informed in part by his own work with Sussex police, often joining officers and detectives for his research to make his books as authentic as possible.
James has been published by Pan Macmillan for a decade. He signed a five-book deal with Pan Macmillan in August 2015, promising three more in the Roy Grace series and two standalone thrillers.
The CWA Diamond Dagger recipient is decided each year by a democratic process within the association, which contains over 700 members, each published in crime by a "bona fide" publisher. Nominations for the award are made by CWA's membership and then judged by a CWA committee vote.
"Peter James is King of the Police Procedural," says the CWA chair Len Tyler. "His books combine up-to-the-minute accuracy with tight plotting and a fast pace. Over the past thirty years or so, Peter has established himself as one of the best-known and best-loved thriller writers in the country. He is immensely supportive of other authors and his wide-ranging work inside and outside the genre has been recognised both by Brighton University and Sussex Police. I know this will be a popular choice both amongst readers and other crime writers."
As part of the CWA Dagger Awards, the CWA Diamond Dagger is the "most prestigious prize" the association can bestow. Past winners of the prze have included Lee Child, Frederick Forsyth, Val McDermid and Elmore Leonard.
James said: "I've always felt that the CWA Diamond Dagger stands head and shoulders above all the myriad awards in the world for crime and thriller writing. It is, without doubt, the most coveted of all, partly because of its history, partly because of who actually decides it, but more important than either of these, is the list of past winners - a veritable roll call of the giants of our genre. I remember attending the ceremonies in my earliest days as young, struggling writer, watching the annual presentations, listening to the acceptance speeches, and dreaming that one that this could be me - which I always dismissed as no more than fantasy. Now to find that I am actually to be this year's recipient is, without doubt, one of the greatest moments of my career. And it is proof that sometimes, our dreams really can come true."