Stav Sherez has scooped the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award for The Intrusions (Faber).
Sherez's book was a 2017 Guardian and Sunday Times book of the year, and dubbed "A Silence of the Lambs for the internet age" by Ian Rankin.
Sherez was presented the award by title sponsor Simon Theakston and broadcaster Mark Lawson at the opening night of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival on Thursday (19th July). He collected a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade, engraved oak beer cask made by Theakston Old Peculier.
“I’m so shocked. Thank you so much for everyone who reads books, everyone who buys books, and talks about them. The world is full of hardships, but we have so much great stuff in culture and it means so much that there’s something to hide in,” he said.
Sherez also talked about how social media offered a new vein of storytelling and criminality.
“The Intrusions are the stuff we have all around us – all the static and scatter of TV and phones – everything is impinging on our consciousness and you don’t have time to think", he said. "So many great crime writers have come before us that have used all the great plots – Christie, James Ellroy – it’s good to have new criminality to deal with. But it’s not only criminality, the internet is affecting politics, it’s affecting elections, it affects us and our kids.”
Sherez beat off stiff competition from the shortlist of six, which consisted of Mick Herron's Spook Street (Soho Crime), Val McDermid's Insidious Intent (Sphere), Denise Mina's The Long Drop (Vintage), Abir Mukherjee's A Rising Man (Harvill Secker), and Susie Steiner's Persons Unknown (The Borough Press).
The 2018 Award is run in partnership with T&R Theakston Ltd, W H Smith, and the Mail on Sunday.
The event also saw a special presentation made to John Grisham – the winner of the ninth Theakston Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award.
Grisham joins Lee Child, Val McDermid, Sara Paretsky, Lynda La Plante, Ruth Rendell, P D James, Colin Dexter and Reginald Hill as recipients of the award.
"About 20 years ago I attended a Chelsea football match with my close friend and editor, Oliver Johnson," Grisham said. "Afterwards, we retired to a pub and I had my first pint of Theakston Old Peculier. Others followed. It’s my favourite beer in the world.”
He added: “I want to thank you for your loyal readership over the years, because of you, the readers, people like myself and Lee Child are lucky enough to do what we do. Thank you very much.”
Simon Theakston, title sponsor and executive director of T&R Theakston, said: “We’re particularly delighted to honour John Grisham. He is truly a giant of the genre, having sold 300 million books worldwide, with nine of his novels being adapted by Hollywood. His appearance at the Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival marks the first time he’s visited Yorkshire, something that will be remembered in Harrogate history for many years to come. The fact that he is a devotee of Old Peculier only adds to our delight!”