Val McDermid has revealed her 2020 “New Blood” list of hotly tipped crime-writing talent, featuring Deepa Anappara and Elizabeth Kay.
The crime queen's annual showcase has been running since 2004, curating a list of debut authors who are invited to join the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival's line-up.
This year, Anappara has been selected for her part coming-of-age, part detective mystery Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line (Chatto) while Kay is on the list for her domestic noir Seven Lies (Sphere).
There are also nods for Trevor Wood's gritty Newcastle-set thriller The Man on the Street (Quercus) and Jessica Moore for her addictive literary thriller Keeper (Penguin).
McDermid said: “I know exactly what I’m looking for on my quest: fresh and distinctive voices, a well-told, convincing story and the almost indefinable sense that these authors all have much more to say. Deepa, Elizabeth, Jessica and Trevor tick all of these boxes and more, and if this year’s debuts share a theme, it is the irresistible and devastating way in which crime fiction shines a light on our times: homelessness, domestic violence, child trafficking and mental health are all dissected with an unflinching gaze. Whilst we can’t gather en masse at the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate this year, I hope that readers will enjoy our virtual introduction to these brilliant new writers.”
Former “New Blood” alumni include Clare Mackintosh, S J Watson, Stuart MacBride, Liam McIlvanney and Belinda Bauer, as well as three authors on this year’s shortlist for the Theakston Old Peculier Award: Abir Mukherjee, Jane Harper and Oyinkan Braithwaite.
Anappara said: “I am thrilled and honoured to be picked for the New Blood panel, and grateful to Val McDermid for her immense generosity and support of debut novelists.”
Wood added: “As a kid I dreamt of playing in the cup final. I’m a fraction older now but being chosen for Harrogate’s New Blood panel feels exactly like that did.”
This year’s festival—which formed part of Harrogate International Festival Summer Season—was cancelled due to the pandemic, so the 2020 “New Blood" showcase will be streamed on the festival’s HIF Player on 25th July.