JK Rowling crime novel as Robert Galbraith up for Theakstons award

JK Rowling's alter ego, Robert Galbraith, is going up against debut novelists and stalwarts of the genre for a prestigious crime-writing prize.

A book written by JK Rowling, using her alter ego Robert Galbraith, is up for a crime writing award. Picture: PA

The Edinburgh-based Harry Potter author, who writes crime novels under the male pseudonym, has made it on to the longlist for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year.

Galbraith’s Career Of Evil will compete against debuts by former TV documentary maker Renee Knight (Disclaimer), Lisa McInerney (The Glorious Heresies), Ruth Ware (In a Dark, Dark Wood), David Young (Stasi Child) and Clare Mackintosh (I Let You Go).

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They will be pitted against high-profile writers including Mark Billingham, Ann Cleeves and Edinburgh-based Val McDermid.

Billingham is nominated for his 13th offering in the Tom Thorne series, Time Of Death. Cleeves received a nod for The Moth Catcher, featuring detective Vera Stanhope, while McDermid is nominated for her latest Tony Hill and Carol Jordan book, Splinter The Silence. Aberdeen writer Stuart MacBride’s novel The Missing And The Dead also makes the cut, as does Death Is A Welcome Guest by Glasgow-based Louise Welsh.

The longlist of 18 titles was selected by an academy of crime-writing authors, agents, editors, reviewers, members of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival programming committee and representatives from T&R Theakston Ltd and WHSmith.

It also features Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty, Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin, Tell No Tales by Eva Dolan, The Ghost Fields by Elly Griffiths, Every Night I Dream Of Hell by Malcolm Mackay, The Nightmare Place by Steve Mosby and The Final Silence by Stuart Neville.

The shortlist of six titles will be announced on 31 May. The overall winner will be decided by the panel of judges and a public vote. The winner will be announced at an award ceremony on 21 July on the opening night of the 14th Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate.

Gemma Rowland, festivals manager at Harrogate International Festivals, said: “The list demonstrates that even the giants of the genre are constantly kept on their toes, with debut voices as serious contenders.

“Last year’s winner was a debut from Sarah Hilary. It really shows whoever wins this year will know they’ve been pitted against the biggest talent at work today.”

The 12th Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award is open to crime authors whose novels were published in paperback from 1 May, 2015 to 18 April, 2016.