Winner of the Old Peculier Crime Novel of the year revealed - this is who it is

From left James Patterson, Sharon Canavar, festivals director, Steve Cavanagh
From left James Patterson, Sharon Canavar, festivals director, Steve Cavanagh

Steve Cavanagh has been unmasked as the winner of The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award for 2019.

Now in its fifteenth year, the award is considered the most coveted crime writing prizes in the country, and one that receives substantial interest from authors, publishers, book sellers and fans of the genre in equal measures.

Thirteen is the Lisburn author’s fifth book in the Eddie Flynn series of crime thrillers, serving up a delicious twist to the traditional courtroom thriller, where in this instance the real killer is not the one on trial, but a member of the jury.

Cavanagh was presented the award by title sponsor Simon Theakston at the event hosted by broadcaster Mark Lawson at the opening night of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, staged by Harrogate International Festivals in the Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate.

He was one six shortlisted authors vying for the title from an original longlist of 18 crime novels, published by UK and Irish authors, available in paperback from May 1, 2018 to April 30, 2019.

The 2019 Award is supported by title sponsor T&R Theakston Ltd, WHSmith, and The Mail on Sunday.

He collected a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade, engraved oak beer cask crafted by the coopers at Theakston’s Masham brewery.

The winner was decided by the panel of judges, comprising of literary and media figures chaired this year by Mari Hannah, alongside a public vote.

A special presentation was also made to James Patterson - the winner of the10th Theakston Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award.

James Patterson - whose books have sold in excess of 300 million copies and has been the most-borrowed author of adult fiction in UK libraries for the past 11 years in a row - joins John Grisham, Lee Child, Val McDermid, Sara Paretsky, Lynda La Plante, Ruth Rendell, PD James, Colin Dexter and Reginald Hill as recipients of the Award.

Simon Theakston, title sponsor and executive director of T&R Theakston Ltd, said: “It is always a privilege to present the winning author with their richly-deserved award. As ever, the standard of both the short and long lists has been astonishingly high, and it is never an easy task to choose a winner.”

Simon Theakston added: “James Patterson is a literary giant and it was an absolute honour to present him with the Theakston Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award.

“James is as passionate about reading as he is about writing and is a huge supporter of independent bookstores and libraries.

“We are delighted that he is joining us here in Harrogate for a few days, and I’m sure many budding crime writers will draw inspiration from his very presence.”

This year’s Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival - Europe’s biggest celebration of the genre - continues until Sunday at the Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate.

Special Guests this year include Jeffery Deaver, Harlan Coben, Ian Rankin, Jo Nesbo, MC Beaton, Stuart MacBride, Val McDermid, Jed Mercurio, Nicola Sturgeon, Belinda Bauer and Eva Dolan. 2019’s programme is chaired by Mari Hannah.