WH Smith partners with the Harrogate International Festivals

13 March 2013

The UK’s most popular High Street retailer has announced a partnership with Harrogate International Festivals to promote the most coveted award in crime fiction.

Bookseller, stationer and newsagent, WHSmith has entered a three-year partnership with the north of England’s leading arts festivals, which runs the prestigious Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award.

Now in its ninth year, the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award was created to celebrate the very best in crime writing and is open to British and Irish authors whose novels are published in paperback from 1 May 2012 – 30 April 2013.

Karl O’Leary, Head of Advertising and Events, at WHSmith said:

Crime is the biggest selling genre and this award represents the best novels within that. We’re thrilled to support such a prestigious award. It really is a perfect partnership in crime fiction.

When you consider that we sell in excess of 30 million books a year, we believe we can really get the nation involved voting for their favourite novel to win.


The 18 long-listed titles will be announced on 6 May, followed by a nationwide campaign until June across 600 WHSmith stores and in 80 library services, representing a total of 1645 library branches across the UK. A shortlist of six will be announced on 1 July, from which the overall winner will be decided by the results of a public vote and the deliberation of an expert judging panel.

Sharon Canavar, CEO of Harrogate International Festivals, said:

The partnership with WHSmith is a fantastic fit for the Award, but it’s also great news for the crime fiction genre as a whole. We’re proud to have developed over the years what has become such a prestigious accolade.


Simon Theakston Executive Director of T&R Theakston and title sponsor said:

The award is now positioned as the most prestigious prize within crime fiction so we are delighted to welcome WHSmith on board. They are an iconic brand in retail and book selling, and it’s a partnership that will no doubt boost even further the excitement and awareness of this annual award.

The 2012 win by highly-esteemed Scottish writer Denise Mina author further increased the prize’s standing with authors, publishers and critics as a sought after literary award.

The 2013 award ceremony hosted by radio broadcaster and Festival regular Mark Lawson will take place on 18 July at the opening night of Europe’s biggest crime writing event, the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, at the Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate.

The winner of the prize will be announced by title sponsor Simon Theakston at the Award Ceremony, and will receive a £3,000 cash prize as well as a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by T&R Theakston.

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