Denise Mina has tonight (18 July 2013) scooped the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award for the second-year running, with her book Gods and Beasts.
One of the most prestigious crime writing prizes in the country, the writer was presented the award by title sponsor Simon Theakston, at the opening night party of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate.
Beating off stiff competition from a shortlist that included Stuart Neville, Stav Sharez, Mark Billingham, Peter May and Chris Ewan this is the second time that Mina has been awarded the coveted accolade. Collecting a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade oak cask provided by Theakstons Old Peculier, she expressed shock at her win.
I’m really quite flabbergasted. This was such a hard book. I really love this book and it means a lot other people appreciate it as it could have crashed and burned. I’m so delighted and so glad to have another gigantic ostentatious award in the shape of a Theakstons beer barrel that I don’t have room for on my mantelpiece.
Born in Glasgow in 1966, Mina grew up in various locations in Europe thanks to her father’s work as an engineer. Having left school at sixteen she tried her hand at a number of jobs including meat factory worker, kitchen porter and cook, before returning to education to study Law at Glasgow University followed by a PhD at Strathclyde University. She wrote her debut novel, Garnethill when she was supposed to be studying. In addition to writing crime fiction novels, Mina also writes comics, short stories, stage plays and even a graphic novel.
Now in its ninth year, the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, in partnership with WHSmith – is promoting the shortlisted titles in stores nationwide –was created to celebrate the very best in crime writing and is open to British and Irish authors whose novels were published in paperback from 1st June 2012 to 31st May 2013.
The overall winner was decided by a public vote and a panel of experts which this year comprised of Co-Founder of the Orange Prize for Fiction and worldwide bestseller Labyrinth author Kate Mosse; Festival chair Val McDermid; the Guardian’s Associate Media Editor John Dugdale, Head of Fiction at WHSmith Dave Swillman, and Simon Theakston, Executive Director of T&R Theakston Ltd.
A special presentation was made to the winner of the fourth Theakstons Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award to Ruth Rendell, creator of Inspector Wexford. She joins PD James, Colin Dexter and Reginald Hill as recipients of the accolade.
The Labour peer has more than 70 books under her belt, and is widely regarded as an innovator of the genre, both under her own name and as Barbara Vine.
Ruth Rendell said:
I feel quite overwhelmed by the most wonderful things ever said about me tonight. It’s very gratifying. I will have been published for 50 years next year, it’s a long time, but it also seems like yesterday” Ruth told how she sold her first manuscript, that first introduced the world to Inspector Wexford, for £75 before an American approached her and offered her 15 times that. “I wrote a lot of books after that.” She added, insisting there was still more to come from the octogenarian “It’s not curtains for Wexford and I hope it’s not curtains for me.
Simon Theakston, Executive Director of T&R Theakston, said:
Denise Mina is a deserving winner who has clearly established herself as a leading name in the genre. It was a very tough decision this year as all the books on the shortlist were outstanding but I’m delighted to hand the trophy to Denise for the second time.
I’m also very privileged to welcome Ruth Rendell to Harrogate to collect her Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award. Few writers have shaped the landscape of the genre as she has, with her humanity and insight. This award acknowledges this huge contribution not only to crime fiction, but to British culture.