Saturday, 23 July 2011

Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Harrogate Day 2

Friday 22 July was the second day of Theakstons Old Peculair and it certainly started with a bang. The first event was Martina Cole being interviewed by the 2011 Programming Chair Dreda Say Mitchell. They could not have started the full day off with a better event. Martina Cole was a brilliant interviewee. Via some interesting questioning Dreda Say Mitchell managed to illicit some very interesting bits of information from Martina. She talked about her books (she was 21 when she wrote her first book), her television work (she has done programmes on girl gangs and female serial killers), her television production country, her work in prisons and the adaptation of her books for television. Her interview certainly went down a storm with those attendees that turned up for the 9am start.

The Old Blood panel that took place was a look back on what had happened to some authors that had taken part in the festival’s renowned “New Blood” panel. The authors who took part were Nick Stone whose third book Voodoo Eyes has just been published, Mark Mills, Allan Guthrie and Cathi Unsworth. With Martyn Waites as the moderator it was a freewheeling event that saw the authors discussing topics such as self-publication, what had changed for them, eBooks and writing in general.

A CWA/ Thriller Award event also took place on Friday where a number of awards were given out and long-lists announced.

CWA Chair Peter James said: “Crime fiction is today more popular throughout the western world than any other form of fiction writing. This is because through this medium the authors write in depth and with the greatest intelligence about human life, the human condition, and issues that affect the lives of each and every one of us. That is what great writing always has been about and always will be.”

The winners, presented here with the judges’ comments, are as follows:


For crime, thriller, suspense or spy fiction novels which have been translated into English from their original language, for UK publication between June 1 2010 and May 31 2011. Prize money £1000 for the author and £500 for the translator.


Three Seconds by Anders Roslund & Börge Hellström, Tr. Kari Dickson (Quercus)

Judges’ comments: The Swedish duo’s usual maverick cop takes a back seat to a riveting exploration of a deniable operation involving an undercover agent deep inside a criminal organisation. Their new character, doomed to betrayal by political manoeuvring, fights for his life with great intelligence and courage.


The Wings of the Sphinx by Andrea Camilleri, Tr. Stephen Sartarelli, (Mantle)

Needle in a Haystack by Ernesto Mallo, Tr. Jethro Soutar (Bitter Lemon Press)

The Saint-Florentin Murders by Jean-François Parot, Tr. Howard Curtis (Gallic)

River of Shadows by Valerio Varesi, Tr. Joseph Farrell (Maclehose)

Death on a Galician Shore by Domingo Villar, Tr. Sonia Soto (Abacus)


Any non-fiction work on a real-life crime theme or a closely-related subject by an author of any nationality, as long as the book was first published in the UK in English between between 1st June 2010 and 31st May 2011. Prize money £1000.


The Killer of Little Shepherds by Douglas Starr (Simon & Schuster)

Judges’ comments

The judges were this year very impressed with the quality of the seventeen submissions for the Non-Fiction Gold Dagger. The subjects were particularly notable for their international coverage; not only the United States and Britain, but also France, Japan, Mexico, Spain and Bali. The winner of this year’s dagger is commended for its excellent style and its appeal to the general reader. The judges would like to give a honourable mention to In The Place of Justice by Wilbert Rideau (Profile).



In The Place of Justice by Wilbert Rideau (Profile)

The Invention of Murder by Judith Flanders (HarperPress)

Slaughter on a Snowy Morn by Colin Evans (Icon Books)

The Murder Room by Michael Capuzzo (Michael Joseph)

Mr Briggs Hat by Kate Colquhoun (Little, Brown)


Any crime short story first published in the UK in English in a publication that pays for contributions, or broadcast in the UK in return for payment, between 1st June, 2010 and 31st May, 2011. Prize money £500.


Homework by Phil Lovesey - The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime Vol 8 - Ed Maxim Jakubowski (Constable and Robinson)

Judges’ comments – A cleverly structured piece with clever narration allying character situations to Hamlet. A neat and original study of relationships and revenge taking the form of a girl’s school project that gradually reveals to us the devious game that she was up to.

Commended (second place)

East Of Suez, West Of Charing Cross Road by John Lawton (Corvus) from Agents Of Treachery edited by Otto Penzler.

Judges’ comments – Funny and enjoyable tale with a sense of mischief that is set against the solid historical background of the Cold War and the slow crumbling of the Empire

Third place

The Dead Club by Michael Palmer and Daniel Palmer (Corvus) from First Thrills edited by Lee Child.

Judges’ comments – An inventive game of chance with a medical background, which is not as it seems and proving that what goes on in Las Vegas does not always stay in Las Vegas.


The Princess of Felony Flats - by Bill Cameron - First Thrills - Ed. Lee Child - (Atlantic Books)
Wednesday’s Child by Ken Bruen - First Thrills - Ed. Lee Child (Atlantic Books)


Sponsored by The Random House Group.

Nominated and judged by librarians and awarded to an author for a body of work, not one single title. Prize money £1,500 plus £300 to a participating library readers group.


Mo Hayder

Judges’ comments

Twisting, hard-hitting crime novels with a haunting emotional pull on the reader. Damaged detective Jack Caffery and police diver Flea Marley are one of the best pairings in current crime writing with each story leaving fans clamouring for more.


SJ Bolton

RJ Ellory

Jason Goodwin

Susan Hill

Philip Kerr


Sponsored by Orion

The Debut Dagger is a new-writing competition open to anyone writing in the English language who has not yet had a novel published commercially. First prize is £700 plus two free tickets to the prestigious CWA Dagger Awards. All shortlisted entrants receive a generous selection of crime novels and professional assessments of their entries, and have also been invited to the Dagger Awards presentations.


What Hidden Lies – Michele Rowe (South Africa)

A tense psychological mystery set on the spectacular Cape Town coast.

Michele is a scriptwriter for television and film. Projects she has researched, originated, written or directed have been nominated for, or won, various International awards. This is her first novel.

Judges comments: Fluid and descriptive writing with an attractive setting.

Highly commended

The Outrageous Behaviour of Left-Handed Dwarves – Graham Brack (UK)

Sunderland born Graham Brack works as a pharmacist. He has produced plenty of technical writing but this is his first work of fiction (unless you count the answer to question 4 in his final paper in pharmacology)

Judges comments: Appealing lead character and a fresh and interesting setting.


A Burial Place for Strangers – Sharon Hunt (Canada)

A Quiet Night in Entebbe – Peter Wynn Norris (UK)

A Vicious Indulgence – Annie Hauxwell (Australia)

Biographies of a Victim – Gunnar Lange-Nielsen (Norway)

Hide and Seek – Sarah Darby (UK)

Men of the Rose – Jessica Ramage (UK)

The Boy Who Loved Penguins – SWC Webb (UK)

The Greengrocers and Fruiterers’ Convention – Martin Ungless (UK)

The Temp – Luke Melia (UK)

Unveiled Threats – Stephanie Light (UK)

At the ceremony the Short list for the John Creasey Award was also announced. The shortlisted authors are –

The Dogs of Rome by Conor Fitzgerald

The Dead Women of Juarez by Sam Hawken

The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly

Before I Go To Sleep by S J Watson

Sister by Rosalind Lupton

Or The Bull Kills You by Jason Webster

Kiss Me Quick by Danny Miller

Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes

The Shortlist for the Steel Dagger was also announced and the nominated authors are –

The Trinity Six by Charles Cumming (HarperCollins)

The Cobra by Frederick Forsyth (Bantam)

The Good Son by Michael Gruber (Atlantic Books)

The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton (Orion)

An Agent of Deceit by Chris Morgan-Jones (Mantle)

Cold Rain by Craig Smith (Myrmidon)

Before I Go To Sleep by S J Watson (Transworld)

Savages by Don Winslow (Heinemann)

The nominated authors for the Gold Dagger

The Gold Dagger nominations are

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Thomas Franklin

The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton

Snowdrops by Andy Miller

The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina

The Hanging Hill by Mo Hayder

Cypress House by Michael Koryta

The Lost Daughter by Lucretia Grindle

White Heat by MJ McGrath

Other panels took place and I rather sadly managed to miss Linwood Barclay in Conversation with Lisa Gardner as I ended up going out to dinner with the lovely people at Constable and Robinson. I did however get the opportunity to chat to debut author Danny Miller who has been shortlisted for the John Creasey Award. I also later on in the evening spoke to Conor FitzGerald who has also be shortlisted for the same award. Conor arrived on time to hear the announcement from his home in Rome where he has lived for 20 years.

The big draw for the evening was however Howard Marks. There was an extremely long queue of people who turned up to listen to the former drug dealer talk about his former life and his debut novel. His autobiography Mr Nice was recently adapted for film.

As can be expected lots of us stayed up until really late catching up and chatting. There were a lot of people who were there for the long haul and it was nearly 2am when I wandered back to my hotel. It was clearly evident and I am in no doubt that the mingling and drinking would be going on for quite some time.

1 comment:

Maxine said...

I'm enjoying reading your reports -- have just checked out Amazon for the winner and runner up of the Debut dagger award but it does not seem to have heard of either of them. Seems a bit odd to have an award and the books not be available for purchase?