Val McDermid unveils her short list for her 'new blood' authors

The undisputed ‘Queen of Crime’ Val McDermid has unveiled the hotly tipped new blood authors for this year as part of Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.

It is a highly anticipated moment shaping readers’ bookshelves as well as literary careers, with alumni including Clare Mackintosh, SJ Watson and Stuart MacBride.McDermid’s shortlist this year is:

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Deepa Anappara – Djinn Patrol on the Purple LineBorn in India and based in Norwich, this debut sensation is a thought-provoking social commentary on Indian slums, which landed Anappara a nomination for the Women’s Fiction Prize

Trevor Wood – The Man on the StreetEx-Royal Navy officer and award-winning playwright Trevor Wood has made a splash with his action-packed debut set on the streets of Newcastle, for which the TV rights have been acquired by World Productions, makers of Line of Duty and Bodyguard

Elizabeth Kay – Seven LiesLondoner Elizabeth Kay’s debut, which explores toxic friendships, jealousy and obsession, instantly turning heads in the literary world as ‘the new face of domestic noir’.

Jessica Moor – KeeperInspired by her experience working with victims of domestic violence, Keeper centres on a women’s refuge.Dubbed ‘a feminist whodunnit’ by The Sunday Times, it landed Moor a well-earned spot on The Observer’s top ten debut novelists of 2020’ and a nod for the Desmond Elliot Prize.

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“I know exactly what I’m looking for on my quest: fresh and distinctive voices, a well-told, convincing story and the almost indefinable sense that these authors all have much more to say,” said McDermid.

“Deepa, Elizabeth, Jessica and Trevor tick all of these boxes and more, and if this year’s debuts share a theme, it is the irresistible and devastating way in which crime fiction shines a light on our times ... homelessness, domestic violence, child trafficking and mental health are all dissected with an unflinching gaze,” she said.

The unveiling of McDermid’s selection has become one of the most anticipated moments of the publishing calendar, with readers on the lookout to uncover their new favourite author and add the ‘next big thing’ to their bookshelves.

Former ‘New Blood’ alumni include Clare Mackintosh, SJ Watson, Stuart MacBride, Liam McIlvanney and Belinda Bauer, as well as three authors on this year’s shortlist for the UK’s most prestigious crime writing award.

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They are Abir Mukherjee, Jane Harper and Oyinkan Braithwaite, who was chosen last year for her Booker longlisted My Sister, the Serial Killer.

Each year the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival welcomes the world’s famous authors each year to Harrogate’s Old Swan Hotel - the scene of Agatha Christie’s mysterious disappearance in 1926 - for a celebration of the crime genre like no other.

This year’s instalment, which formed part of Harrogate International Festival Summer Season, was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The New Blood showcase will be streamed on the festival’s HIF Player on what would have been the legendary weekender on Saturday July 25.

Val will also interviewed by Mark Lawson about the legacy of the New Blood panel, discussing the role of the showcase in giving a platform to new writers in the industry and the crime community.

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