As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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CRIMEFEST, one of Europe’s leading
crime writing conventions, has announced the shortlists for its annual awards.
Now in its 13th year, the awards honour the best crime books
released in 2019 in the UK.
New for 2020, in association with its headline sponsor
Specsavers, is the Specsavers Debut Crime Novel Award. The winner will receive
a £1,000 prize.
Adrian Muller, Co-host of CRIMEFEST,
said: “Specsavers are passionate about the crime genre thanks to its founder
Dame Mary Perkins, and their support ensures new voices in the genre will be
recognised. We have really diverse awards reflecting the depth and breadth of
the crime genre. Categories recognise e-books and audiobooks, humour, children
and Young Adult crime fiction novels. We aim to be the most inclusive of awards
to reflect the values of our convention.”
A further £1,000 prize fund is also awarded to the Audible Sounds of Crime
Award, sponsored by Audible UK. Eligible titles are submitted by publishers, and Audible UK listeners establish the shortlist and
the winning title.
Laurence Howell, Vice President, Content at Audible said:
“We are delighted to continue as sponsor of the Audible Sounds of Crime Award.
This is a prize that is very close to our heart and important for our members
who are passionate fans of crime audiobooks. Crime and thriller remains one of
our bestselling genres because of the intimate, immersive nature of audiobooks.
Congratulations to all award nominees!”
All other category winners, which are judged bypanels of leading British crime fiction reviewers, receive
a Bristol Blue Glass commemorative award.
The 2020 CRIMEFEST Awards were due to be
presented at a Gala Dinner during the convention at the Bristol Grand Mercure
Hotel this June. In light of Covid-19, the winners will be announced online at www.crimefest.com
and via its social media pages on Tuesday 7 July.
CRIMEFEST was created following the
hugely successful one-off visit to Bristol in 2006 of the American Left Coast
Crime convention. It was established over ten years ago in 2008. It follows the
egalitarian format of most US conventions, making it open to all authors and
The convention has grown to become not only one of the
biggest crime fiction events in Europe, but also one of the most popular dates
in the international crime fiction calendar, with circa 60 panel events and 150
authors over four days.
Specsavers Crime Fiction Debut Award
One of the most anticipated categories showcases the next
big names in the genre.
Shortlisted Holly Watt has already picked up the 2019 CWA
Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for her debut, To The Lions. Another
high-profile debut star is Alex Michaelides with The Silent Patient,
which sold over a million copies and was a Richard and Judy book club pick.
Engineer Fiona Erskine’s debut Chemical Detective is
also in contention for the best debut, alongside Katja Ivar for Evil Things.
Katja who was born in Moscow, lives in Paris and has a Masters in Contemporary
History; her debut takes place in Finland at the height of the Cold War with
the Soviet Union.
Carolyn Kirby’s The Conviction of Cora Burns was
chosen by The Times as an historical fiction book of the month and was
longlisted for the HWA debut crown award. Laura Shepherd-Robinson worked in
politics for nearly twenty years before writing her thrilling debut historical
crime novel, Blood & Sugar, set in 1781 amidst the British slavery
industryalso makes the shortlist.
Audible Sounds of Crime Award
The Audible shortlist features bestselling novels including
Kate Atkinson’s Big Sky, read by Jackson Brodie actor Jason Isaacs, Lee
Child’s Blue Moon narrated by Jeff Harding and The Silent Patient
by Alex Michaelides featuring Sherlock actress Louise Brealey and Jack Hawkins.
The British-Nigerian actress Weruche Opia narrates Oyinkan
Braithwaite’s Booker-longlisted My Sister,
The Serial Killer. Also, in contention are Alex Callister’s Winter Dark,
The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell, T.M. Logan’s The Holiday, and
Peter May’s The Man with No Face.
H.R.F. Keating Award
Barry Forshaw, one of the UK’s leading experts on the genre,
is shortlisted for the H.R.F Keating Award for the best biographical or critical
book related to crime fiction for his guide to the genre, Crime Fiction: A
Reader’s Guide. He’s up against John Curran’s The Hooded Gunman, a
celebration of the 2000 books published by the iconic imprint Collins’ Crime
Club. Also on the shortlist is Ursula Buchan with Beyond The Thirty-Nine
Steps. Ursula, the granddaughter of John Buchan, who wrote the classic
thriller famously adapted to film by Alfred Hitchcock, draws on recently
discovered family documents in her illuminating biography.
Last Laugh Award
Previous winners of the Last Laugh Award return on the 2020
shortlist as Christopher Fowler, the author of fifty novels and short stories,
is shortlisted for his Bryant & May mystery, The Lonely Hour. Fowler
won the Last Laugh Award in 2009. L.C. Tyler also won the award in 2010. He
returns with his novel, The Maltese Herring.
Also battling for the best humorous crime novel is the king
of Helsinki noir, Antti Tuomainen, William Boyle for A Friend is a Gift you
Give Yourself and Hannah Dennison with Tidings of Death at Honeychurch
Hall. Helen FitzGerald joins the
shortlist for Worst Case Scenario, adeliciously dark,
unapologetically funny psychological thriller by the international bestselling
author The Cry.
Holly Watt (To The Lions), Helen FitzGerald (Worst
Case Scenario) and L.C. Tyler (The Maltese Herring) are all
shortlisted in their second category of the CRIMEFEST awards – the eDunnit
award for best electronic crime novel. They’re up against Sarah Hilary’s Never
Be Broken – her sixth book in the DI Marnie Rome series and Andrew Taylor
for The King’s Evil, the hugely successful series from an author
considered one of the best historical crime writers today. Also shortlisted is
the American giant of twenty-one acclaimed, award winning international
bestsellers, Don Winslow, for The Border, the concluding part of his
Best Crime Fiction Novel for Children
Dark deeds, piratical plots and dastardly villains feature
in the shortlist for the best children’s crime novel.
Welsh author P.G. Bell is shortlisted for The Great Brain
Robbery, the second in his Train to Impossible Places Series. Acclaimed
children’s author Vivian French is in contention for her adventures of a family
theatre-troupe touring Victorian England by train in The Steam Whistle
Librarian and author Sophie Green makes the list with her
unusual investigative duo chasing ghostly goings-on in Potkin and Stubbs.
Also shortlisted is A.M. Howell whose The Garden of Lost Secrets set in
1916 on a country estate was a Times Children’s Book of the Week.
The Haven, an adrenalin-fuelled adventure by top
thriller writer Simon Lelic,also makes the shortlist,
along with Malamander by Thomas Taylor, a quirky fantasy with a
cast of characters in pursuit of a sea monster. An illustrator and writer,
Taylor’s first job was the cover for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s
Best Crime Fiction Novel for Young Adults
An icon of the crime genre synonymous with the modern legal
thriller, John Grisham, makes the shortlist for his Young Adult novel Theodore
Boone: The Accomplice featuring a nosy thirteen-year-old half-boy,
Grisham is up against last year’s winner for the best crime
fiction novel for young adults, Nikesh Shukla. Shukla hopes to hold onto the
title with The Boxer, the story of seventeen-year-old Sunny who takes up
boxing to protect himself after a racist attack.
Simon Mason, who won the CRIMEFEST
Best Young Adult novel in 2017 for Kid Got Shot is also back with Hey
Sherlock! which stars teen slacker and crime-solving genius Gavin Smith.
Kathryn Evans is no stranger to awards as her debut More
of Me won the Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book Award – the
first Young Adult novel to do so. Her latest, Beauty Sleep, a dark thriller
that plunges a pre-tech girl into a futuristic world, makes the shortlist.
Also, in contention is the dark, twisty, fairy tale world of Samuel J. Halpin’s
The Peculiar Peggs of Riddling Woods and Heartstream, a taut
thriller about obsession, fame and betrayal by Tom Pollock.