Alumni face off against new blood for crime prize

The shortlist for crime writing’s premier prize, the 16th Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, has been announced, and will take  the reader on an international crime spree from New York to Calcutta, London to Lagos via Glasgow and the Australian outback.

Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 6:09 am
Executive director of T&R Theakston, Simon Theakston. Picture: Charlotte Graham, Harrogate International Festivals
Executive director of T&R Theakston, Simon Theakston. Picture: Charlotte Graham, Harrogate International Festivals

The prize went virtual when organisers Harrogate International Festival cancelled its summer season back in April.The titles in contention for this year’s prize feature five Theakston award alumni and one debut novelist, and showcase “exceptional variety and originality”, including spy espionage, historical crime, gallows humour, outback noir and serial killing siblings.

The nominees include Oyinkan Braithwaite’s Booker Prize nominated My Sister, the Serial Killer. Braithwaite is one of the youngest ever to be shortlisted and caps a meteoric rise since being selected by Val McDermid as a spotlight author in the 2019 Festival’s highly respected ‘New Blood’ panel.

The remaining five authors on the shortlist are all previous contenders: Mick Herron, who has picked up a fifth nomination with Joe Country; Scottish-Bengali author Abir Mukherjee is vying for the title with Smoke and Ashes; Glasgow’s Helen Fitzgerald for Worst Case Scenario; Belfast’s Adrian McKinty with The Chain and The Lost Man by former journalist Jane Harper.

Executive director of T&R Theakston, Simon Theakston, said: “Offering both escapism and resolution, these exceptional titles transport readers around the world and I can’t wait to see where we settle on 23 July when one of these extraordinary authors takes home the 2020 Theakston Old Peculier cask.”