Bolton (right) has been dubbed by The Times as ‘the High Priestess of English Rural Gothic’. She wins the CWA Dagger in the Library for the enjoyment readers have got from her body of work - Bolton has written eight crime novels and is the author of the Lacey Flint series - rather than an award for one book.
The Dagger in the Library celebrates what crime writers do best, great storytelling, said CWA Chair Alison Joseph. "It is judged by readers, for readers. It is also a reminder of the central importance of libraries to the world of books and to the lives of readers and writers. Our thanks are due to all the judges, and to our sponsors, Dead Good, and our congratulations to Sharon too for this well-deserved win."
Bolton had previously been shortlisted for the award in 2011. As noted by the CWA, unlike most other literary prizes, the Dagger in the Library honours an author’s body of work to date rather than a single title, and an author must have published three books to be eligible for the award. Previous winners include Belinda Bauer, Steve Mosby, Mo Hayder, Colin Cotterill, Stuart MacBride and Alexander McCall Smith.
Lancashire-born Bolton has been praised for her 'rural Gothic style', although she notes that her books aren't filled with ghosts or supernatural elements as much as "an atmosphere of dread and foreboding that is akin to the classic gothic horror novel". Now living with her family near Oxford, Bolton's books have been shortlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, the International Thriller Writers’ Best First Novel Award and she has won the Mary Higgins Clark award for best thriller.
"We are thrilled to see Sharon’s novels receive this public recognition," said Sarah Adams, Publishing Director at Transworld, after Bolton was announced as the Dagger in the Library winner. "The unique, addictive and consistent quality of her writing never ceases to amaze us, and she richly deserves to celebrate and be celebrated. Our thanks go to all of Sharon’s supporters and to the judges."
This year, for the first time, readers compiled the longlist as crime lovers everywhere were invited to vote online for their three favourite authors. The most popular ten writers formed the longlist. This was then whittled down to five shortlisted authors by a panel of judges, including previous winner Steve Mosby, CWA Director Lucy Santos and a group of UK librarians.
You can read more about SJ Bolton at her author website here.