Friday, July 20, 2007

Scottish writer takes the UK 's biggest crime writing award

Orkney-born writer Allan Guthrie, published by one of Scotland ’s leading publishing houses Polygon (an imprint of Birlinn Ltd), has been awarded The Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2007, for his novel, Two-Way Split. The decision was announced last night, (19 July 2007) at the opening event of the Theakstons Old Peculier Harrogate Crime Writing Festival. As the winner, Allan received £3,000 and a handmade, engraved beer barrel.

Allan, until last year a bookseller with Waterstone's, has lifted the award amidst fierce competition from the UK 's best crime writers. The writer, who now lives just outside Edinburgh in Portobello, has won with his first novel, published in paperback earlier this year. Two further novels have since been released and a fourth is due out next year.

The winning novel, Two-Way Split (Polygon) is set in the dead of winter. Robin Greaves, an armed robber whose wife has been sleeping with a fellow gang member, concocts a plan for revenge, but things go from bad to worse when the gang bungles a post office robbery. Soon they are stalked by the police, a dodgy pair of private eyes and a psycho with a vendetta, who may be the only one not look for a cut of the money. Infused with dark humour, the book is beautifully crafted, fast paced and ‘delectably nasty’.

A spokesperson for Polygon said ‘We are absolutely delighted. Allan’s writing is original and powerful and stands out from the crowd. Until last year he was an unpublished writer, working in a bookstore. Today he is one of the country’s brightest new stars.’

The shortlist for the award:
Dead Place by Stephen Booth
All Fun and Games Until Somebody Loses an Eye by Christopher Brookmyre
Two Way Split by Allan Guthrie
The Death Ship of Dartmouth by Michael Jecks
Cold Granite by Stuart MacBride
Blood and Honey by Graham Hurley

Won by Mark Billingham in 2005 and Val McDermid in 2006, this is the only award of its kind to be voted for by the general public. Crime readers could vote in any branch of Waterstone’s in the UK or online and they did so in their thousands.

Allan Guthrie was born and raised in Orkney before moving to music school in Manchester . He now lives in Edinburgh and is married to Donna. In addition to his success with the Theakston Award, his first novel, TWO-WAY SPLIT, was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger. His second novel, KISS HER GOODBYE, was nominated for Edgar, Anthony and Gumshoe awards. His third, HARD MAN, has just been published. Allan is also a commissioning editor for PointBlank Press and a literary agent.

“Guthrie’s work stands up against the best the genre has to offer. His prose is clinically efficient, his storytelling consummate, his dialogue sparkles and snaps on the page, and his blend of black humour and breathless action is impossible to put down." – The Herald

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