Friday, July 22, 2011

Lee Child scoops Theakstons Award

A few hours ago, British-born crime writer Lee Child was named the winner of the 2011 Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year for his Jack Reacher novel 61 HOURS, beating out competition including twice-winner Mark Billingham and Scottish 'gore with guffaws' master Stuart MacBride.

The announcement was made on the opening night of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, being held in Harrogate, England this weekend. It is the first time Child has won the £3,000 prize and handmade, engraved beer barrel trophy provided by the brewery sponsor.

Simon Theakston, judge and T&R Theakston executive director, said: "All the novels on this year's shortlist were of an exceptionally high standard but 61 Hours was a clear winner. The appeal of the eternal wanderer Jack Reacher is hard to resist as he travels the frozen landscape of South Dakota, fighting the good fight. 61 Hours is a great example of Lee Child's immense talent, and we're thrilled to present him with this much deserved award for the first time."

Although I'm a big fan of both Billingham and MacBride, I'm happy to see Child recognised for 61 HOURS, as I really enjoyed that book when I read it last year. You can read my thoughts on this particular Jack Reacher tale at the Reviewing the Evidence website here. Child was also the first-ever participant in Crime Watch's ongoing 9mm interview series - you can (re)read his quickfire interview here.

Now in its seventh year, the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, in partnership with Asda, and this year in association with the Daily Mirror, was created to celebrate the very best in crime writing and is open to British and Irish authors whose novels were published in paperback between 1st January 2010 and 31st May 2011.

 A special presentation was also made to 91-year-old novelist P D James, the winner of the second Theakstons Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award. reported that the 91-year-old Baroness was delighted to collect the award: "It is always a satisfaction and an encouragement for a writer to win a prize, but I am particularly proud to be honoured by the Theakstons Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award because it comes from Harrogate, a town which it is always a delight to visit and which is the home of one of the most distinguished and pleasurable English literary festivals."

Theakston added, “We are also hugely honoured and excited to welcome the crime fiction grandmaster P D James to Harrogate this year, to collect her Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award. Few are as prolific as she, dominating the genre for over 50 years. This award acknowledges that immense achievement."

Congratulations to Baroness James - it's terrific to see her honoured in this way. I really, really enjoyed interviewing her prior to her 90th birthday last year - she was an absolute delight to interview - charming, witty, honest, and gracious. She also participated in the 9mm series - you can read her answers here.

Comments welcome.

1 comment:

  1. I simply loved your interview with P.D. James--fantastic! She is my #1 favorite crime writer and I'm having trouble reading the books I have yet to read because I don't want her to be all "past tense."

    Judith (Reader in the Wilderness)