The winner of the 2020 Theakston old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award is Belfast-born Adrian McKinty for his thriller The Chain, that sees parents forced to abduct children to save the lives of their own. The prize celebrates the very best in crime fiction and is open to UK and Irish crime authors whose novels were published in paperback during the eligibility period.
McKinty said: “I am gobsmacked and delighted to win this award. Two years ago, I had given up on writing altogether and was working in a bar and driving an uber, and so to go from that to this is just amazing. People think that you write a book and it will be an immediate bestseller. For twelve books, my experience was quite the opposite, but then I started this one. It was deliberately high concept, deliberately different to everything else I had written – and I was still convinced it wouldn’t go anywhere… but now look at this. It has been completely life changing.”
The news was revealed in a virtual awards ceremony on what would have been the opening night of Harrogate’s legendary Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, which was cancelled due to the pandemic. Instead, the announcement marked the launch of the HIF Weekender, Harrogate International Festival’s free virtual festival.
The winner receives £3,000, and a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakston Old Peculier.
[Thanks to Cora Buhlert for the story.]