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Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2015


Photo by Fenris Oswin

Sarah Hilary has scooped the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award for Someone Else’s Skin.

Celebrating its eleventh year, the Award is considered one of the most coveted crime writing prizes in the U.K.

Sarah Hilary’s compelling first thriller received critical acclaim for being superbly disturbing, twisty and tricksy.

Hilary said: “To win this award for my debut crime novel is simply amazing. I’d like to thank my publishers, Headline, my editor Vicki Mellor, and of course my stupendous agent Jane Gregory. This is my fourth year at the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, I didn’t think it could get any better, but it just did.”

Photo by Fenris Oswin

Photo by Fenris Oswin

Hilary was presented the award by title sponsor Simon Theakston and broadcaster Mark Lawson at the opening night of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. The annual Festival, hosted in Harrogate, is the world’s biggest celebration of the genre.

She beat off stiff competition from the shortlist of six, whittled down from a longlist of 18 titles published by British and Irish authors over the last year.

The 2015 Award is run in partnership with T&R Theakston Ltd, WHSmith, and The Radio Times. Hilary collected a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade oak cask provided by Theakstons Old Peculier.

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 Sarah.”

A special presentation was made to Sara Paretsky – the winner of the sixth Theakstons Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award.

Sara said: “When I created VI Warshawski, she created a few seismic shockwaves for being a female detective with gumption. I’m proud of that, and today it’s amazing to be recognised for that legacy and to see so many female characters in the genre who are more than just a vamp or victim. This is such a prestigious award, not least because of the previous winners in whose footsteps I follow – PD James, Ruth Rendell, Reginald Hill and Colin Dexter. It’s amazing to be the first American to infiltrate this list.

“I am so delighted to be here at Harrogate. To be part of the Festival has long been one of my goals… and what an honour to receive this award – I am both touched and excited to receive it. Thank you all so much.”

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

During the ceremony, the 2015 Festival Programming Chair Ann Cleeves and author Val McDermid paid tribute to PD James and Ruth Rendell, who received the Outstanding Contribution awards in 2011 and 2013 respectively.

The Chicago author revolutionized crime fiction in 1982 when she introduced V I Warshawski in Indemnity Only. By creating a believable investigator with the grit and the smarts to tackle problems on the mean streets, Paretsky challenged a genre in which women typically were either vamps or victims. Hailed by critics and readers, Indemnity Only was followed by fifteen more best-selling Warshawski novels.

Simon Theakston added: “It’s a great privilege to welcome Sara Paretsky to Harrogate to celebrate her extraordinary achievements. This award acknowledges her huge contribution to a genre she has helped shape, not only with her own work, but by paving the way for new waves of female crime writers.”