Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award

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The Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award is a crime-fiction award, sponsored by Theakston’s Old Peculier.
It is awarded annually at Harrogate Crime Writing Festival in the UK, held every July.
The winner receives £3000 and a small hand-carved oak beer cask carved by one of Britain’s last coopers.
Novels eligible are those crime novels published in paperback any time during the previous year, thus making the shortlists seem more out-of-date than for most prizes.
It is also the only such crime-fiction award in the UK to be voted for partly by the public.
Decisions of a jury-panel are also taken into account, a fact not-much publicised by the award organisers, who are keen to emphasize the public-voting aspect of the award.

What is TOPCWF?

The Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival held in Harrogate is now Europe’s biggest crime writing event. The Festival is an annual four-day event which brings together the very best in crime fiction in a series of events, interviews, and panel sessions.

Now in its 13th year, the Festival engages 13,500 people in lively thought-provoking debates about the written word, the changing roles of writers and readers, and literature’s response to, and effect upon, wider society. The Festival attracts attendance from the world’s leading Crime Fiction Authors, Publishers, Editors and Agents.

The Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year is also announced at the Festival, the only crime writing award in which the public are able to vote for their favourite long-listed contenders.

Who decides the Programme?

The Programming Committee is the creative force behind the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. Made up of a small group of industry specialists, it is charged with devising the programme of events for the Festival. In addition to the annual position of Chair, the Committee comprises a literary agent, a publisher, a reviewer, an author and the Festival Reader-In-Residence.

The current members of the Programming Committee are:

2015 Chair: Ann Cleeves, author
Agent: Jane Gregory, Gregory and Company
Publisher: David Shelley, Publisher, Little, Brown Book Group
Reviewer: N J Cooper, also an author
Author: Val McDermid
Festival Reader In Residence: David Mark, also an author

List of Programming Committee Chairs in Full:

2003 – 2005 Val McDermid
2006     Mark Billingham
2007     Natasha (NJ) Cooper
2008     Simon Kernick
2009     Laura Wilson
2010     Stuart MacBride
2011     Dreda Say Mitchell
2012     Mark Billingham
2013 Val McDermid
2014 Steve Mosby

How are participating authors selected?

Invitations to authors to participate in the Festival are issued by the Programming Chair on the basis of their individual creative vision for the programme. The rotating position of Chair ensures that the Festival programme remains fresh from year to year. Each Chair brings their unique personality and individual tastes to the programme.

Invited authors who agree to participate receive a nominal fee for their appearance of £100 and £50 for each event thereafter, as well as accommodation in Harrogate.  Entirely at their own discretion, authors may waive their fee to support the Festival if they wish.

Unlike some crime conventions and conferences, slots on panels or for guest appearances at the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival are not paid for either by authors or publishers.

TOPCWF remains a Festival in the very truest sense of the word, celebrating the very best of the genre. The only criteria a Chair is expected to apply when shaping their Festival programme is to ensure the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival continues to deliver events of the highest possible quality.

Where does TOPCWF take place?

The Festival takes place each year in a hotel in the centre of the beautiful spa town of Harrogate. Crime fans, authors, publishers and agents rub shoulders at this popular event, often staying for the whole weekend.

How to book?

Ticket & accommodation packages can be booked by calling the Festival Office on +44 (0) 1423 562303. Individual tickets can be purchased from the Festivals Box Office once on sale.

How do I find out more about the authors?

The Festival Event Guide featuring full details about the events running throughout the weekend is available from the Festival Office or you can keep up-to-date by signing up to our newsletter through the website

The venue hotel is sold out. How do I find accommodation?

The Festival hotel is always booked out by the Festival office so call us on +44 (0) 1423 562303 to reserve your place. We provide a package deal combining both accommodation and tickets to the Festival, which can be purchased via the Festival Office.

In addition to the Old Swan Hotel, we offer a range of tailor-made ticket and accommodation packages to suit all budgets.


Tickets booked through the Festival Office and as part of a package will be available from the Festival Desk at the Festival Hotel from the first day of the Festival. Tickets booked through the central Box Office will be posted out upon request.

Getting to and around Harrogate

From the North: Follow the A1 to A61 to Ripon. Follow signs to Ripon, then follow signs for Harrogate.
Alternatively follow the A1/M come off at junction 47 and follow signs to Harrogate.

From the south and east: M1 to A1 to Wetherby, then exit to the A661 to Harrogate.
Alternatively follow the M1, go north at Leeds on the A1/M, continue onto junction 47 and follow signs to Harrogate.

From the west: M62 to A1 Wetherby, then exit to A661 Harrogate.

Harrogate station is located in the centre of the town with links to York and Leeds.

Leeds/Bradford is approximately 14 miles from Harrogate.

               2005 – Mark Billingham – Lazybones
               2006 – Val McDermid – The Torment of Others
               2007 – Allan Guthrie – Two-Way Split
               2008 – Stef Penney – The Tenderness of Wolves[1]
               2009 – Mark Billingham – Death Message[2]
               2010 – R. J. Ellory – A Simple Act of Violence
               2011 – Lee Child – 61 Hours
               2012 – Denise Mina – The End of the Wasp Season[3]
               2013 – Denise Mina – Gods and Beasts[4]
External link’s…
1. ^ “Theakston’s Crime award goes to mainstream first novel” ( The Guardian (London). 2008-07-18. Retrieved 2010-03-06.
2. ^ Flood, Alison (2009-07-27). “Mark Billingham wins crime novel of the year award” ( The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-03-06.
3. ^ Alison Flood (20 July 2012). “Denise Mina wins crime novel of the year award” ( The Guardian. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
4. ^ Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2013 (
.        Retrieved from “ title=Theakston%27s_Old_Peculier_Crime_Novel_of_the_Year_Award&oldid=620678913″

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