Mick Herron Scoops Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Novel of the Year Award

Mick Herron Scoops Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Novel of the Year Award

By Sarah Morgan

It was another hotly contested competition, with six writers vying for the £3,000 prize money and the beautiful trophy – a handmade, engraved barrel…

The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Novel of the Year awards ceremony traditionally kicks off the annual festival at Harrogate’s Old Swan Hotel, but despite the subject matter, it is, thankfully, a bloodless affair – crime writers are a friendly bunch.

Certainly nobody begrudged Mick Herron his victory, having been nominated five times in six years.

His winning book, Slough House, is the seventh instalment in a best-selling series about failed spies exiled from the corridors of power. It caps a wonderfully successful period in the author’s career, following the launch of Slow Horses, Apple TV+’s adaptation of the books, starring Gary Oldman and Kristin Scott Thomas.

But Herron wasn’t the only winner. Judging proved so tough, the panel decided to mark Joseph Knox as Highly Commended for his thriller True Crime Story. This special recognition comes just five years after he made his Harrogate debut as a member of Val McDermid’s ever-popular New Blood panel, in which rising stars are hand-picked to discuss their work by the doyenne of the genre.

Mick Herron Scoops Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Novel of the Year Award panel

Mark Lawson, Simon Theakston, Michael Connelly, Joseph Knox, Mick Herron and Sharon Canavar

“Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival has a well-earned reputation for showcasing the very best crime writing talent and tonight’s winners reflect these high standards perfectly,” claims Simon Theakston, executive director of Theakston.

“Mick Herron’s Slough House manages to combine intrigue, peril and humour in a deft exploration of international espionage, while Joseph Knox is a master of suspense with his taut tale of a missing persons investigation at a British university.”

Also taking home a trophy is Michael Connelly. The iconic American author received the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award in recognition of his long and successful career, which has seen him sell more than 80 million books featuring such memorable characters as Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller.

“This is an amazing honour as it covers the breadth of my career. It really means a lot to me,” says Connelly, who will be discussing his work with Mark Billingham on Friday night in what promises to be one of this year’s festival highlights.

“We couldn’t have wished for a better start to this year’s festival,” adds Sharon Canavar, chief executive of Harrogate International Festivals. No doubt the rest of the weekend will be just as exciting as the books it celebrates too.


1 comment

  1. Joanna Lockwood 22 July, 2022 at 16:09 Reply

    Many congratulations to Mick Herron and don’t drink too many Old Peculiers to celebrate your win! It’s not surprising now that on Amazon, Mick Herron is described as “The John Le Carré of our generation” and it’s all to do with bad actors and slow horses. Who would have thought le Carré might be associated with “any generation”! In terms of acclaimed spy novels, Herron’s Slough House series has definitely made him Top Of The Pops in terms of anti-Bond writers. For Len Deighton devotees that ends a long and victorious reign at number one.

    Raw noir espionage of the Slough House quality is rare, whether or not with occasional splashes of sardonic hilarity. Gary Oldman’s performance in Slow Horses has given the Slough House series the leg up the charts it deserved. Will Jackson Lamb become the next Bond? It would be a rich paradox if he became an established anti-Bond brand ambassador. Maybe Lamb should change his name to Happy Jack or Pinball Wizard or even Harry Jack. After all, Harry worked for Palmer as might Edward Burlington for Bill Fairclough in another noir but factual spy series, The Burlington Files.

    Of course, espionage aficionados should know that both The Slough House and Burlington Files series were rejected by risk averse publishers who didn’t think espionage existed unless it was fictional and created by Ian Fleming or David Cornwell. However, they probably didn’t know that Fairclough once drummed with Keith Moon in their generation in the seventies.

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