Harrogate Crime Festival Reveals ‘Novel of the Year’ Longlist

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by Sarah Morgan

The countdown to this year’s Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate has begun – it’s just three months away, which means it’s time to scrutinise the long list for 2019’s Novel of the Year Award.

To be in contention, books had to be written by a UK or Irish author and be published in paperback between May 2018 and April 2019 – at least the lack of hardbacks means the tomes should be easier to carry around if you’re nipping down to the shops to pick them up!

“So many authors on our longlist have been nominees for major mainstream awards,” says Simon Theakstson, executive director of T&R Theakston, who sponsor the event. “The literary world is perhaps catching up to the fact that crime fiction is leading the publishing world and shaping our cultural landscape.

“In 2018, sales of crime novels outstripped general fiction for the first time. It’s a genre that dominates the small and big screen, and attracts critical acclaim, as well as being incredibly popular. There is however, only one Crime Novel of the Year, and the reputation of our Award, built over 15 years, makes this accolade hotly contended.”

harrogate crime festival best novel longlist books

“Biggest prize”

It should come as no surprise to see that previous winner Belinda Bauer’s Snap is in the running, having hit the headlines for making the longlist for the Man Booker Prize – a rarity for an offering in the crime genre.

Veterans Val McDermid (Broken Ground), Ann Cleeves (Wild Fire) and Mick Herron (London Rules) are also hoping to be successful, but it’s perhaps works by those just starting their careers that are more interesting.

One such writer is Rahman Khurrum, who made an entertaining appearance at last year’s festival to publicise his debut novel East of Hounslow; now he may be taking home its biggest prize.

Last year, the popular winner was Stav Sherez, who looked suitably stunned when his name was announced – and even more amazed to be sharing the stage with none other than American giant John Grisham, who won the Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction award.

There’s no news on who the 2019 recipient of the latter trophy will be, but as the likes of Harlan Coben and James Patterson are appearing over the weekend, the smart money will probably be on them.

The winners will be announced during a ceremony hosted by Mark Lawson at the Old Swan Hotel on Thursday, July 18.

Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival takes place in Harrogate, 18-21 July. More info: harrogateinternationalfestivals.com/crime-writing-festival

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