Theakstons of Masham is probably most famous for its beer Old Peculier. A unique beer with a worldwide reputation, Old Peculier is in a class of its own, there is no other beer like it and therefore in presenting the beer as a brand to consumers it is always deliberately positioned in a way to reflect its unique status. The association with the world's greatest Crime Festival is a perfect example of this. But there are other parallels that can be drawn.

When the sponsorship of the Festival was first proposed, a small conundrum was presented. In what way can we further associate drinking Old Peculier with reading a crime novel. This was tackled in the way that only these things can be done - with a glass of Old Peculier whilst in contemplatory mood with a little time on one's hands. The striking initial taste sensation soon developed into something magnificent as the full flavour of the beer opened out in all its glory with rich warming fruity full bodied resonance before mellowing into a deeply satisfying finish. That was the Eureka moment! The perfect Crime novel does not have the 'whodunit' on page one. After a gripping opening scene the reader is drawn into the story with all its facets, experiencing, the characters, the plotting, the scenes and only at the end of the book, when the conclusion has been reached, the reader will then experience the satisfaction of the mystery solved.  The parallels between drinking Old Peculier and good crime novel became immediately obvious!

Two additional elements linking the beer with the festival were firstly, the close proximity of Masham, the Yorkshire dales market town in which Theakstons have brewed for over 186 years, to the spa town of Harrogate, the home of the International Festival. Second, the Crime Writers Festival draws fans from all over the world and in particular from the United States, with many coming to enjoy the four day festival in Harrogate.

Similarly, Old Peculier is sold in many countries all over the world but in particular in the United States. By linking all these facts together, a great platform for joint promotion was created and the justification for the sponsorship complete.

Theakston Old Peculier has been the title sponsor of the Crime Writing Festival almost from day one. The status of the Festival in the world of publishing grows in stature year after year, greatly enhanced by the introduction of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award launched in 2006. The awareness of the Old Peculier brand continues to be one of the highest of all beers in the UK and is widely considered to be one of the world iconic beers. On the back label of each bottle of Old Peculier there is one of a series of six ten-word crime stories written by renowned crime authors, acting as a constant reminder of this unique and successful association.

2015 Short List

2015 marks the eleventh year of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. The award, run in partnership with T & R Theakston, WHSmith and Radio Times, was created to celebrate the very best in crime writing and is open to British and Irish authors whose novels were published in paperback over the previous twelve months.

Crime writing’s most coveted accolade, the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award returns to highlight the cream of the crop of crime novels.

YOU – the readers – will be able to help decide which of the six short listed authors will take home the most coveted title in crime fiction, a prize of £3,000 and a hand-carved Theakstons cask, by casting your vote online at: Voting opens on Wednesday 1 July and closes at midnight on Tuesday 13 July.

Please note: you will only be able to vote on the books included in the short list, announced on the 1 July.
The result of the online vote will be counted alongside the votes of the expert judging panel in order to determine the 2015 winner.

The Judges
Forming the 2015 judging panel are 2015 Festival Programming Chair Steve Mosby, WHSmith’s Head of Fiction David Swillman and Executive Director of title sponsor, T&R Theakston Simon Theakston and TV Editor at Radio Times, Alison Graham.

Nationwide crime spree hits WHSmith!
The 18 long listed books will be available to buy in WHSmith stores nationwide from 22 May – 19 June, and the 6 short listed books will feature in all stores from 3 July –31 July.

The Short List

Sarah Hilary – Someone Else’s Skin


This debut novel featuring new series lead D.I. Marnie Rome garnered huge praise when it was published. It was lauded by Sarah’s fellow authors  - Mark Billingham said it was 'a stunning debut', Martyn Waites said “One of the best crime novels not just debuts I’ve read for ages” and Alex Marwood said “It’s a truly engrossing read from an exceptional new talent and the press alike”. The Times called it 'impressive', The Sun 'simply superb' and The Observer 'extraordinarily good'. It was the Euro Crime Book of the Year for 2014 and Richard & Judy picked it as one of their Autumn 2014 reads.  Called to a woman's refuge to take a routine witness statement, D.I. Marnie Rome instead walks in on an attempted murder. Trying to uncover the truth from layers of secrets, Marnie finds herself confronting her own demons. Because she, of all people, knows that it can be those closest to us we should fear the most . . . 

Vote for Someone Else's Skin here!

Antonia Hodgson – The Devil in Marshalsea


London, 1727 - and Tom Hawkins is about to fall from his heaven of card games, brothels and coffee-houses into the hell of a debtors' prison.  The Marshalsea is a savage world of its own, with simple rules: those with family or friends who can lend them a little money may survive in relative comfort. Those with none will starve in squalor and disease. And those who try to escape will suffer a gruesome fate at the hands of the gaol's rutheless governor and his cronies.  The trouble is, Tom Hawkins has never been good at following rules - even simple ones. And the recent grisly murder of a debtor, Captain Roberts, has brought further terror to the gaol. While the Captain's beautiful widow cries for justice, the finger of suspicion points only one way: to the sly, enigmatic figure of Samuel Fleet.  Some call Fleet a devil, a man to avoid at all costs. But Tom Hawkins is sharing his cell. Soon, Tom's choice is clear: get to the truth of the murder - or be the next to die.

Vote for The Devil in Marshalsea here!

Ray Celestin – The Axeman’s Jazz


New Orleans, 1919. As a dark serial killer - The Axeman - stalks the city, three individuals set out to unmask him...  Detective Lieutenant Michael Talbot, heading up the official investigation behind the terrifying murders, is struggling to find leads. But Michael has a grave secret, and if he doesn't get himself on the right track fast, it could be exposed.  Former detective Luca d'Andrea has spent the last six years in Angola state penitentiary, after Michael, his protégé, blew the whistle on his corrupt behaviour. Now a newly freed man, Luca is back working with the mafia, whose need to solve the mystery of the Axeman is every bit as urgent as that of the authorities.  Meanwhile, Ida is a secretary at the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Obsessed with Sherlock Holmes and dreaming of a better life, Ida stumbles across a clue which lures her and her musician friend, Louis Armstrong, to the case - and into terrible danger.  As Michael, Luca and Ida each draw closer to discovering the killer's identity, the Axeman himself will issue a challenge to the people of New Orleans: play jazz or risk becoming the next victim... 

Vote for The Axeman's Jazz here!

Elly Griffiths – The Outcast Dead


Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway has excavated a body from the grounds of Norwich Castle, once a prison. The body may be that of Victorian murderess Jemima Green. Called Mother Hook for her claw-like hand, Jemima was hanged for the murder of five children.   DCI Harry Nelson has no time for long-ago killers. Investigating the case of three infants found dead, one after the other, in their King's Lynn home, he's convinced that their mother is responsible.   Then a child goes missing. Could the abduction be linked to the long-dead Mother Hook? Ruth is pulled into the case, and back towards Nelson. 

Vote for The Outcast Dead here!

Peter May – Entry Island


When Detective Sime Mackenzie is sent from Montreal to investigate a murder on the remote Entry Island, 850 miles from the Canadian mainland, he leaves behind him a life of sleeplessness and regret.   But what had initially seemed an open-and-shut case takes on a disturbing dimension when he meets the prime suspect, the victim's wife, and is convinced that he knows her - even though they have never met.   And when his insomnia becomes punctuated by dreams of a distant Scottish past in another century, this murder in the Gulf of St. Lawrence leads him down a path he could never have foreseen, forcing him to face a conflict between his professional duty and his personal destiny. 

Vote for Entry Island here!

Belinda Bauer – The Facts of Life and Death


On the beaches and cliffs of North Devon, young women have become victims in a terrifying game where only one player knows the rules. And when those rules change, the new game is Murder.  But a madman on the loose feels very far from the crumbling, seaside home of ten-year-old Ruby Trick. Instead she lives in constant fear of school bullies, the dark forest, and the threat of her parents' divorce.  Helping her father to catch the killer seems like the only way to keep him close.  As long as the killer doesn’t catch her first.

Vote for The Facts of Life and Death here!

The 2015 Longlist







2015 Events

2015 Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Programme

Box Office: 01423 562303 |


3PM| Tickets: £10


From Ann Cleeves – a personal invitation to all festival-goers to join instant conversations about books. Some of our most memorable reading experiences spark the liveliest conversations – as surprising, fun and individual as readers themselves.

Join us for tea and cake, Harrogate-style, and share your reading passions in the company
of other readers and writers. Talk books, talk crime, talk writers in this fun and friendly
Festival curtain-raiser. Features a Great Mystery Book Swap – your chance to gift a book you’ve loved (and don’t mind parting with) to another reader … and get one to try for yourself.

Afternoon tea and cake included in the ticket price. Please bring a book you’re happy to give away.

 Please note this event is not part of the rover packages.


8PM| Tickets: £16


Step aside, Gwyneth and Meryl. It’s time to thank agents, publicists, mums, God, and just about everyone in the building and their dog…yes! It’s the crime writing fraternity’s equivalent
to the Oscars with host Mark Lawson.

The six shortlisted authors will battle it out for supremacy in one of crime fiction’smost hotly contended and prestigious award ceremonies. Steady the nerves with a glass of wine or pint of Old Peculier, then continue the celebrations, and commiserations, after the presentation at the Festival opening party.

Ticket price includes canapés and glass of wine or pint of Old Peculier.


9AM| Tickets: £13   


Chicago meets Kirkcaldy. Two Queens of the genre. One stage. Before there was Lisbeth Salander, there was V.I. Warshawski. Sara Paretsky revolutionised the mystery world when she introduced V.I. in Indemnity Only. By creating a believable investigator with the grit and the smarts to tackle problems on the mean streets, she challenged a genre in which women typically were either vamps or victims.

Sara Paretsky put fire in Warshawski’s eyes and in the process inspired a generation of women crime writers, including Val McDermid. One of the biggest names of the genre, Val’s creations include Lindsay Gordon, Kate Brannigan and the Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series.

Two passionate, electrifying authors with a yearning for social justice. Expect sparks to fly.


10.30AM| Tickets: £10


But is the past really a foreign country? Was the psychology of murder different then or is it only the technology of investigation and conviction that has changed?
Delve back in time and anatomise those distant lands before DNA, where there were motives before mobiles.

Clamber into coliseums of Ancient Rome with historial novelists Lindsey Davis and Manda Scott. Step into Stalinist Russua with William Ryan, best known for his Captain Korolev series. Stumble down dark alleyways with Chritopher Fowler and his London Golden Age detectives Bryant & May, and dig a little deeper with Elly Griffiths, author of the Ruth Galloway archaeological mystery series.


12PM| Tickets: £10   


Is it the luck of the Irish? Behold the emerald jewels of crime fiction!

Steve Cavanagh, a practising lawyer, is guilty of being criminally good. His debut US-based legal thriller, The Defence, became the subject of an international bidding war. Stuart Neville also had a brilliant debut when The Twelve became one of the LA Times’ top crime novels in 2009, and introduced a major new voice to the genre.

New York Times bestseller Brian McGilloway attracts critical acclaim for his energetic and incisive prose in his admired Inspector Benedict Devlin and Lucy Black series. Eoin McNamee, who writes under the pseudonym John Creed for the Jack Valentine series, is no stranger to praise, with The Blue Tango longlisted for the Booker Prize. Described as ‘genre to the core’, Adrian McKinty has been compared to David Peace and James Ellroy for his fast-paced prose.


2PM| Tickets: £10   


There are books that make your heart sing. How can you identify the books you’ll love and want to press on everyone who crosses your path?
When we’re bombarded with suggestions for new reading and when Amazon reviews and star-ratings have become devalued, how do we come across that very special book that will stay with us for a lifetime? In this brave new world of promotion, commercialism, and noisy sales, complete with fake online reviews, you know you can always trust a librarian.
Twitter sensation Stewart Bain from Orkney library joins novelists Isabelle Grey, Anya Lipska, David Mark and James Oswald to take us by the hand through the readers’ dating
quagmire to help us find that perfect match.


3.30PM| Tickets: £10   


Is the crime novel essentially an up-dated morality tale?
The crime genre can help us contemplate some of the most important questions of our time. How can the press spend so many column inches on the tragic overdose of a Hollywood star when hundreds of drug-related deaths go unreported every year? Is murder ever justified? And where does euthanasia fit into the debate? Belinda Bauer, Wiley Cash, Jonathan Freedland, Nicci French and Cath Staincliffe chew over the rights and wrongs, with sensitivity, passion, and a dash of black humour.


5PM| Tickets: £13 


The phenomenon returns. Exactly ten years after publication of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, this August sees a new story based on Larsson’s universe and characters, written by the brilliant David Lagercrantz. His publishers have compared the planned release across thirty five countries to the global splash made by Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code in 2003.
Stieg Larsson’s Millennium books featuring the punked-up, troubled, but resourceful Lisbeth Salander have sold more than seventy five million copies in fifty countries. Dissect Larsson’s legacy and the brand new fourth book with chair Mark Lawson, Scandi-crime connoisseur Barry Forshaw, critic NJ Cooper and Larsson’s publisher, Christopher MacLehose, and Eva Gedin, Larsson’s original editor and publisher at the Swedish firm Norstedts.


6.30PM| Tickets £10.00


It’s known as God’s own county. Naturally. Aside from the best beer, proper brews and rollicking Dales, Yorkshire ’appens to be murderously good for the crime genre. As Harrogate is the epicentre of crime writing’s biggest celebration of the genre, we celebrate local folk and devotees of the county.

Lee Child may be the cool blockbusting author with a trans atlantic drawl, hanging with the likes of Tom Cruise, but he used to buy toffee in Harrogate with his grandma as a lad before studying at Sheffield. Steve Mosby stalks the mean streets of Leeds, and Peter Robinson’s DCI Banks novels starring Stephen Tompkinson were lovingly filmed on location in Yorkshire.
Born and raised in industrial Hull, Nick Quantrill’s Joe Geraghty novels have been dubbed as ‘Hull’s answer to Ian Rankin’ and ‘the Hammet of Humberside’, and Frances Brody sets her Kate Shackleton mystery novels in 1920s Yorkshire. By ’eck.


7PM| Tickets: £12   


You have been voting since May to pick your winners for the Dead Good Reader Awards. Who will scoop The Val McDermid Award for Fiendish Forensics? The Lee Child Award for Best Loner or Detective? Or The Reichenbach Falls Award for Most Epic Ending?
Join us for this exciting event as Lee Child, Val McDermid and more present awards to your Dead Good winners. Enjoy a glass of wine and fabulous goodies at the inaugural Dead Good Reader Awards!

 Please note this event is not part of the rover packages.


8.30PM| Tickets: £13


Mark Billingham and Eddie Izzard first met more than twenty-five years ago as struggling stand-up comics. Mark continued to struggle then later chucked in the comedy and went
on to write the hugely successful series of crime novels featuring DI Tom Thorne. Eddie meanwhile became the most acclaimed comedian of his generation, on top of which he is now a hugely successful actor, activist and campaigner. In this very special guest event, they will discuss the overlap between crime and comedy, the art of storytelling and will of course be talking about Eddie’s many TV and film appearances, most recently as serial killer Abel Gideon in the TV series Hannibal.


10PM | Tickets: £13  


‘I never read my reviews, darling’, is a well-trodden line. In reality, critics can trigger murderous impulses. So when it comes to authors reviewing books of their friends, how honest are they really? Should you ever trust a book blurb?
Stepping into the bullring is the Telegraph’s book reviewer, Jake Kerridge, who wrote of Dan Brown, ‘Brown gets better and better: where once he was abysmal he is now just very poor.’ Jake raises the red flag to authors, N.J Cooper, S.J Parris, Stav Sherez, and Ann Widdecombe, who is no stranger to critics.

Ruth Rendell said of Widdecombe’s books, ‘You want to go on reading, you want to know what happens; it isn’t easy to put down’ in the Sunday Times. And from the Daily Mail? ‘Dances like a hippo and looks like a Dalek in drag – it can only be Strictly Widdy’. Ah, the Daily Mail. Expect strong language.





9AM| Tickets: £13   


The New York Times number one crime novelist Lisa Gardner has over twenty two million books in print and is published in thirty countries.
A self-described research junkie, she once took up boxing to understand the psychology behind getting hit. Other excursions have included numerous prison visits, a tour of the infamous Body Farm, and in-depth conversations with police officers and criminal investigators. Her approach rewards readers with intricate police procedure, cutting-edge forensics and twisted plots, creating internationally bestselling suspense novels.
Gardner is in conversation with this year’s Programming Chair Ann Cleeves, the ‘visionary behind Vera’. As crabby as Columbo, the unglamorous, brilliant, down-to-earth detective Vera Stanhope and the flagship ITV series have attracted a legion of fans worldwide.


10.30AM| Tickets: £10   


Scottish comedian and presenter Fred MacAuley delves into Beaton’s extraordinary career.
Marion Chesney is known primarily for the more than 100 historical romance novels. M.C. Beaton is the pseudonym she reserves for crime fiction, including the much-loved Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth novels.
Born in Glasgow, she was a bookseller, theatre critic and fashion editor before joining the Scottish Daily Express, where she mostly reported crime. A move to Fleet Street to work for the Daily Express was followed by a stint in America, when she wrote for The Star in New York.
She took up writing romances to spend more time with her son. A holiday in Sutherland at a fishing school inspired her first Hamish Macbeth story. Beaton returned to Scotland, where husband Harry reared black sheep, before a move to the Cotswolds, which inspired the brilliant Agatha Raisin.


12PM| Tickets £10


The return of the panel dedicated to showcasing the year’s most dazzling debut authors! Always a sell-out, this event will see Queen of Crime Val McDermid in the hot seat to hand-pick four of the brightest new talents ready for a new crime wave.

She’ll be inviting Renee Knight, Clare Mackintosh, Ben McPherson and Lucy Ribchester to discuss their debut novels. Eager
readers on the lookout for the next big thing will be given the chance to discover a sure-fire list of ‘ones to watch’. Not to be missed!


2PM| Tickets: £10   


Extreme environments create intoxicating adventure, tension, and atmosphere. Exploring exotic, weird landscapes – physical or emotional – can be central to a novel that takes the reader into bold new territory.
Find out what influences author Mark Lawson, on this expedition with former journalist Craig Robertson. Join the extraordinarily well-travelled MJ McGrath, whose adventures from Alaska to Madagascar ensure place occupies a large part in her work. Trip to the other side of the world with Australian Michael Robotham, whose latest thriller, Life or Death, is set in the violent confines of a prison.
Then there’s Swedish author Hakan Nesser, whose Van Veeteren series takes place in Maardam, a fictitious city in a made-up country. And the Plague Times trilogy by Glasgow’s Louise Welsh transforms our sense of the familiar, as London is warped by death and crisis.


3.30PM| Tickets: £10


Few writers can ignore how forensics has transformed detecting crimes, taking the genre from the puzzle in the library to the minutia under the microscope. Join author Lin Anderson, creator of forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod, with a panel of professors.
Lorna Dawson is a Principal Soil Scientist, who has worked on case investigations with the police and Forensic Science Service, as well as advising on TV shows Vera and Silent Witness. Niamh Nic Daeid is   Professor of Forensic Science and Director of Research at the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification at the University of Dundee.
Professor James Grieve was a Senior Lecturer in Forensic Medicine and a Police Forensic Pathologist. And forensic entomologist Martin Hall has worked as an expert witness on over thirty criminal cases, looking at how maggots can provide vital clues to murder.


5PM| Tickets: £13


Yorkshire-born Sally Wainwright doesn’t muck about. Wainwright has been writing for television for almost 25 years, honing her skills with stints on the Archers, Emmerdale and Coronation Street. The British BAFTA-winning and Edgar winning television writer has an ability to create prime time after prime time show, throwing the spotlight on authentic, complex female characters.

Her feminist buddy cop show Scott & Bailey was the most successful drama launch of 2011 and has now gone to four series. BBC1 thriller Happy Valley attracted viewers, controversy and remarkable reviews with its graphic depiction of kidnap, rape and murder in Hebden Bridge. Broadchurch writer Chris Chibnall hailed it as ‘one of the great British dramas of all time’.

Sally will be interviewed by BBC Breakfast presenter Steph McGovern.


6.15PM| Tickets: £30   


When Sicilian businessman Paolo Brusconi is found murdered in a lemon grove adjoining an archaeological site, four people come under suspicion. But was Brusconi killed because of a dispute with one of the site’s guides? Or because of his amorous exploits with the director of the excavation? Or did his killer have another motive altogether?

A case to be cracked over a few courses of fine dining… Authors Alex Barclay, Frances Brody, Clare Kendal, Marnie Riches, Claire McGowan, Sabine Durrant, Kate Rhodes, Christobel Kent, Adam Brookes, Robert Wilson, Susan Wilkins, Clare Donoghue, Emma Kavanagh, Sophie McKenzie and LC Tyler apply their criminal minds, alongside their napkins. Inspired by the Montalbano books of Andrea Camilleri, this fiendish mystery was devised by author Kate Ellis, who will be hosting the evening.

 Please note this event is not part of the rover packages.


8.30PM| Tickets: £13    


Lee Child is a brand unto himself. The festival favourite returns to discuss Make Me, the twentieth book in the series, with satirist and impressionist Rory Bremner.
Child tapped into a universal nerve with hero Jack Reacher, selling over fifty million books in forty languages. A monosyllabic drifter, Reacher has been described as half-Rimbaud, half-Rambo, part Robin Hood, part gorilla.
This meeting of minds promises to match the most adrenalin-packed thrillers. How will Bremner take on the dirty blond, ice-blue-eyed six-foot-five Reacher with a penchant for breaking bones (violently)? Can he disarm Child’s suave, cool exterior? And crucially, will he do an impression of Tom Cruise?
Hold on to the edge of your seats, this promises to be one heck of a ride.



10PM| Tickets: £10   


It’s THE quiz that is the stuff of legends! Former champions taking home the coveted cup include The Wire’s David Simon and George Pelecanos and esteemed broadcaster Mark Lawson. It’s your chance to join such luminaries in the winner’s hall of fame with quizmasters Mark Billingham and Val McDermid. Remember, it’s the winning that counts!



10AM| Tickets: £10   


When Anthony Minghella’s adaptation of The Talented Mr Ripley came out in 1999, it sparked a mini Highsmith revival. But many feel the author has suffered criminal neglect, despite being often named in lists of the best crime novelists of all time.

As 2015 marks Tom Ripley’s sixtieth birthday, Martin Edwards, Sarah Hilary, Peter James, Andrew Taylor and Peter Swanson celebrate the author and her work in this special panel.
Highsmith published eight short-story collections and twenty two novels, including the fivebook Ripley series. Her first book, Strangers on a Train, was adapted for the big screen by Alfred Hitchcock. Her morally ambiguous, dark, psychological writing is filled with criminals who often get away with their crimes. The author’s life was a fascinating one. Gay, but isolated, she was considered ‘unlovable’ and ‘unloving’, and once apparently took one hundred snails in her handbag to a party so she could have someone to talk to.


11.30AM| Tickets: £10


Arnaldur Indridason gives interviews rarely and guards his privacy fiercely, and has admitted he’d rather be home writing than touring on book promotions. It’s a huge privilege then to welcome the Icelandic author, whose macabre thrillers starring the introspective Scandinavian inspector Erlendur Sveinsson have been translated into twenty languages and enjoy huge sales worldwide.

Having worked for many years as a journalist and film critic for the Icelandic newspaper Morgunbladid, he began writing novels aged thirty four. The son of the prominent Icelandic novelist Indridi Thorsteinsson, he hid his writing at first from his father. By the summer of 2003, his crime novels occupied the top five spots in the Icelandic bestseller list and the following year his books made up seven of the ten most borrowed from the Reykjavik library.

He speaks to writer and journalist Barry Forshaw.



The 2014 Winners

Belinda Bauer scooped the tenth Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award for Rubbernecker featuring Patrick Fort, a medical student with Asperger’s Syndrome.
Belinda said: “This is really unexpected; it feels like a very lucky accident to win this award when my fellow shortlisted authors seem so much smarter than me! I’m delighted. It’s a wonderful festival and such a prestigious prize. I’d like to thank the judges who read all the shortlisted books, and Simon Theakston for sponsoring the Festival. I’d particularly like to thank my publishers, Transworld, and my wonderful agent, Jane Gregory.”
Simon Theakston, Executive Director of T&R Theakston, said: “It was a very tough decision as it is every year as all the books on the shortlist were outstanding but I’m delighted to hand the trophy to Belinda.”

A special presentation was made to Lynda La Plante - the winner of the Fifth Theakstons Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award.

Lynda said: “'I am delighted to be at the Festival this year and it is a great honour to be the recipient of such a prestigious award.  I've decided to dedicate my award to the late Verity Lambert, who had faith in me at the very start of my writing career when she commissioned Widows.  Also to the readers of my books and viewers of my television productions, they give me such enthusiastic and valuable feedback and without them I wouldn't have this wonderful career that I enjoy so much.”

La Plante joins Ruth Rendell, PD James, Colin Dexter and Reginald Hill as recipients of the Award.

The Liverpool author began her career as an actress before turning to scriptwriting.  La Plante has written over 170 hours of award winning television drama including Widows, Prime Suspect and Above Suspicion.  She recently announced she has begun writing TENNSISON, based on her character Jane Tennison (played by Helen Mirren in Prime Suspect), which will follow the character from the age of 21 when she first joins the police force as a WPC.

La Plante’s new standalone novel, Twisted continues La Plante’s run of internationally acclaimed best sellers.

Simon Theakston added: “It’s also a great privilege to welcome Lynda La Plante to Harrogate to collect her Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award. This award acknowledges her huge contribution not only to crime fiction, but to British culture as a whole with her iconic television oeuvre.”

Past Winners


Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year  -  Denise Mina, with Simon Theakston and Jonathan Manby

Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year - Gods and Beasts by Denise Mina

Outstanding Contribution Award - Ruth Rendall



Outstanding Contribution Award - Colin Dexter

Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year - The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina


Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year - 61 Hours by Lee Child

Outstanding Contribution Winner - PD James