Sarah Hilary has tonight (16 July 2015, 9pm) scooped the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award for Someone Else’s Skin.
Celebrating its eleventh year, the Award is considered one of the most coveted crime writing prizes in the country.
Sarah Hilary’s compelling first thriller received critical acclaim for being superbly disturbing, twisty and tricksy.
Hilary said: “To win this award for my debut crime novel is simply amazing. I’d like to thank my publishers, Headline, my editor Vicki Mellor, and of course my stupendous agent Jane Gregory. This is my fourth year at the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, I didn’t think it could get any better, but it just did.”
Hilary was presented the award by title sponsor Simon Theakston and broadcaster Mark Lawson at the opening night of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. The annual Festival, hosted in Harrogate, is the world’s biggest celebration of the genre.
She beat off stiff competition from the shortlist of six, whittled down from a longlist of 18 titles published by British and Irish authors over the last year.
The 2015 Award is run in partnership with T&R Theakston Ltd, WHSmith, and The Radio Times. Hilary collected a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade oak cask provided by Theakstons Old Peculier.
Simon Theakston, Executive Director of T&R Theakston, said:
“It was a very tough decision as it is every year as all the books on the shortlist were outstanding but I’m delighted to hand the trophy to Sarah.”
A special presentation was made to Sara Paretsky - the winner of the sixth Theakstons Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award.
Sara said: “When I created VI Warshawski, she created a few seismic shockwaves for being a female detective with gumption. I’m proud of that, and today it’s amazing to be recognised for that legacy and to see so many female characters in the genre who are more than just a vamp or victim. This is such a prestigious award, not least because of the previous winners in whose footsteps I follow - PD James, Ruth Rendell, Reginald Hill and Colin Dexter. It’s amazing to be the first American to infiltrate this list”.
“I am so delighted to be here at Harrogate. To be part of the Festival has long been one of my goals… and what an honour to receive this award – I am both touched and excited to receive it. Thank you all so much.”
Paretsky joins Lynda La Plante, Ruth Rendell, PD James, Colin Dexter and Reginald Hill as recipients of the Award.
During the ceremony, the 2015 Festival Programming Chair Ann Cleeves and author Val McDermid paid tribute to PD James and Ruth Rendell, who received the Outstanding Contribution awards in 2011 and 2013 respectively.
The Chicago author revolutionized crime fiction in 1982 when she introduced V I Warshawski in Indemnity Only. By creating a believable investigator with the grit and the smarts to tackle problems on the mean streets, Paretsky challenged a genre in which women typically were either vamps or victims. Hailed by critics and readers, Indemnity Only was followed by fifteen more best-selling Warshawski novels.
Simon Theakston added: “It’s a great privilege to welcome Sara Paretsky to Harrogate to celebrate her extraordinary achievements. This award acknowledges her huge contribution to a genre she has helped shape, not only with her own work, but by paving the way for new waves of female crime writers.”
For further information please contact Ann Chadwick at Cause UK firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTES TO EDITOR
The shortlist in full:
The Facts Of Life And Death by Belinda Bauer, Transworld
The Axeman's Jazz by Ray Celestin, Mantle/ Pan Macmillan
The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths, Quercus
Someone Else's Skin by Sarah Hilary, Headline
The Devil in the Marshalsea by Antonia Hodgson, Hodder & Stoughton
Entry Island by Peter May, Quercus
1. KEY AWARD DATES
21st May – 18 longlist titles feature in a 4-week campaign in 600 WHSmith stores nationwide
15th June – shortlist of 6 announced
18th June - 6 shortlist titles feature in a 6-week campaign in 600 WHSmith stores nationwide
1st July – online voting opens to the public at www.theakstons.co.uk
13th July - public voting closes for the shortlist
16th July: winner announced at Award ceremony on Opening Night of Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Harrogate (8pm, Thu 16 July)
2. PREVIOUS WINNERS
2005 – Lazy Bones by Mark Billingham
2006 – The Torment of Others by Val McDermid
2007 – Two Way Split by Allan Guthrie
2008 – The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney
2009 – Death Message by Mark Billingham
2010 - A Simple Act of Violence by RJ Ellory
2011 – 61 Hours by Lee Child
2012 – The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina
2013 – Beasts and Gods, by Denise Mina
2014 – Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer
3. ABOUT THE FESTIVAL
The Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival is Europe’s largest event dedicated to the celebration of crime fiction. Taking place annually over four days each July (this year: 16-19 July), the Festival programmes over 80 best-selling UK and international crime authors and over 20 events. It is organised and promoted by the north of England’s leading arts festival organisation, Harrogate International Festivals. Ranked in the top three literary festivals in the UK by The Guardian, it is also featured in the Independent ‘50 Best Festivals’.
2015 Special Guests include Ann Cleeves, Val McDermid, Lisa Gardner, Sally Wainwright, Mark Billingham, Eddie Izzard, MC Beaton, Arnaldur Indridason, Lee Child and Sara Paretsky.
4. ABOUT THEAKSTONS
Title sponsor of the Festival since 2005, Theakstons Old Peculier ale is produced by T & R Theakston Ltd. It is one of the country’s most famous and highly regarded traditional ale brewers. Theakstons was established in Masham, North Yorkshire in 1827 by Robert Theakston. After a brief period in the 1980s when the company was acquired by Scottish & Newcastle plc, the company has been back under family ownership since autumn 2003. It now operates as an independent brewer producing five permanent brands in the Theakstons range including the iconic Old Peculier – its best-known beer with a rich, dark flavour, celebrated by ale enthusiasts all over Britain and around the world.