Brighton crime novelists in running for UK’s most prestigious crime fiction prize

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The longlist for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2022 has been announced today, with debut authors and literary icons vying for the UK and Ireland’s most coveted crime fiction writing award.

The award, now in its eighteenth year, is presented by Harrogate International Festivals and recognises the best crime novels published in the UK and Ireland in paperback over the past year. This year’s longlist takes readers from the decks of a haunted galleon to the claustrophobia of a psychiatric ward, from a small American town shaken by the disappearance of a young girl to the hedonism and danger of London’s Georgian pleasure gardens.

This year’s longlist features eighteen incredible crime novels, with two authors from Brighton in the running for the prize, vying with literary icons and impressive debut authors. Elly Griffiths, who has been shortlisted for the award four times before, is hoping to take the title with The Night Hawks, the story of a group of metal detectorists who discover a body alongside a hoard of treasure, leading police to an eerie farm in the middle of nowhere which spells danger for anyone who approaches. William Shaw is also longlisted for The Trawlerman, following a strange double murder case which seems to be linked not only to a environmental investment scam, but also to a colleague of the investigating officers.

The longlist also sees a number of previous winners hoping to take home the prize once again. Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival 2022 Programming Chair Denise Mina will look to snatch her third win for The Less Dead, as will Rabbit Hole author Mark Billingham, who took home the inaugural award in 2005 and again in 2009. Chris Brookmyre, who won the 2017 prize, is in the running again with The Cut while Blood Ties author Brian McGilloway, who was highly commended at last year’s prize, is also longlisted.  Mick Herron with Slough House, as well as previous longlistees Ann Cleeves with The Heron’s Cry, Erin Kelly with Watch Her FallImran Mahmood with I Know What I SawJoseph Knox for True Crime Story, Laura Shepherd-Robinson’s Georgian detective novel Daughters of NightStuart Turton with genre-bending whodunnit The Devil and the Dark Water.

While some familiar names have returned again this year to compete, the longlist features a number of authors receiving their first chance at the prize. M.W. Craven receives a nod for Dead Ground, while Vaseem Khan is featured for his novel Midnight at Malabar House, set in the turbulent streets of Bombay in 1950. Incredible debut authors in the running for the award include 2021 New Blood panellist Anna Bailey with her taut novel Tall Bones, and Abigail Dean with bestselling debut Girl A.


The full Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2022 longlist is comprised of:

  • Girl A by Abigail Dean (HarperFiction)
  • Tall Bones by Anna Bailey (Doubleday)
  • The Heron’s Cry by Ann Cleeves (Pan Macmillan)
  • Blood Ties by Brian McGilloway (Constable)
  • The Cut by Chris Brookmyre (Little, Brown)
  • The Less Dead by Denise Mina (Harvill Secker)
  • The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths (Quercus Fiction)
  • Watch Her Fall by Erin Kelly (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • I Know What I Saw by Imran Mahmood (Raven Books)
  • True Crime Story by Joseph Knox (Doubleday)
  • Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd Robinson (Mantle/Pan)
  • Rabbit Hole by Mark Billingham (Little, Brown)
  • Slough House by Mick Herron (Baskerville)
  • Dead Ground by M. W. Craven (Constable)
  • The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton (Raven Books)
  • Midnight at Malabar House by Vaseem Khan (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • The Trawlerman by William Shaw (riverrun)

Simon Theakston, Executive Director of Theakston, added“Crime fiction seems to have an enduring popularity with readers, and this year’s longlist is a clear indication as to why. Books from iconic writers and impressive debuts demonstrate the wonderful talent working in the genre today – the public have got a hard job ahead of them voting for a shortlist of only six! We raise a glass of Old Peculier to all the authors on the longlist, and look forward to a celebratory drink with our Award winner in July.”

 Chief Executive of Harrogate International Festivals, Sharon Canavar, commented: “We are thrilled to announce the 2022 longlist for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, championing the very best crime fiction being published in the UK and Ireland. With a mix of nail-biting psychological thrillers, tense police procedurals and gripping mysteries, this year’s longlist demonstrates the incredible breadth of modern crime fiction. We can’t wait to see which books the public side with during voting, and look forward to revealing the winner at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in July.”

 The longlist was selected by an academy of crime writing authors, agents, editors, reviewers, members of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Programming Committee, along with media partners the Express. The award is run by Harrogate International Festivals sponsored by T&R Theakston Ltd, in partnership with Waterstones and the Express, and is open to full length crime novels published in paperback 1 May 2021 to 30 April 2022 by UK and Irish authors.

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The public are now invited to vote for a shortlist of six titles at Voting closes on 26th May, with the shortlist announced and winner voting opening on 14th June. The winner will be revealed on the opening night of Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Thursday 21st July, receiving £3,000 and a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by T&R Theakston Ltd .

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