Thursday, December 1, 2011

Ellis Peters Historical Award: Wartime tale wins

Overnight (NZT), the winner of the 2011 Ellis Peters Historical Award was announced. Here is the official press release from the Crime Writers' Association:

Wartime tale wins historical crime fiction award

A dark tale of wartime intrigue has been named by The Crime Writers’ Association as the winner of this year’s prestigious Ellis Peters Historical Award.

Andrew Martin’s novel THE SOMME STATIONS, published by Faber and Faber, was selected for the £3,000 first prize.

The award is sponsored by the Estate of Ellis Peters, Headline Book Publishing Company and Little, Brown Book Group. It is given to the best historical crime novel (set in any period up to 35 years prior to the year in which the award will be made) by an author of any nationality, and commemorates the life and work of Ellis Peters (Edith Pargeter) (1913-1995), a prolific author perhaps best known as the creator of Brother Cadfael.

The judging panel said of THE SOMME STATIONS: “Martin’s novels featuring railway detective Jim Stringer reveal their treasures in subtle fashion with a winning synthesis of period atmosphere, intriguing plotting and a passion for steam railways.”

THE SOMME STATIONS plunges into the horrors of World War One trench combat. Stringer and his unit must undertake dangerous nocturnal assignments: driving the trains taking munitions to the front. Death is everywhere, as the trains travel through blasted surrealistic landscapes, and a single-minded military policeman continues to investigate a killing that occurred before the departure for France.

CWA chair Peter James said: “Yet again, our judging panel had a tough task but after much deliberation came up with a truly worthy winner. Historical crime fiction is certainly in a healthy position with so many talented writers at work.”

The winner was announced at the Athenaeum in London.

The shortlist was:
  • Rory Clements PRINCE
  • Sam Eastland THE RED COFFIN
  • Gordon Ferris THE HANGING SHED
  • Imogen Robertson ISLAND OF BONES

  • Eileen Roberts (Chair) - Originator and organiser of St Hilda’s annual crime symposium in Oxford, mystery and crime enthusiast
  • Geoffrey Bailey - Bookseller specialising in crime
  • Barry Forshaw - Edits Crime Time and is a talking head for the ITV Crime Thriller author profiles and BBC TV documentaries. A prolific writer, he has been Vice Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association.
  • Sir Bernard Ingham - Press Secretary to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and crime fiction fan
  • Jake Kerridge - the crime fiction critic of the Daily Telegraph

The CWA has also announced some changes to the award, effective from 2012. The Ellis Peters award will once again become a CWA Dagger and submission dates will gradually move to correspond with the other CWA awards. The changes are in line with the CWA's commitment to increase the profile of their non-TV Dagger awards. It's planned that the Ellis Peters and the other Dagger awards will be presented as part of a new awards ceremony in summer 2012. Publishers are asked to contact the CWA or visit the Daggers sub-site for the new rules in full..

For press enquiries or more information on the CWA, please visit the website,, or contact

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