Every week, I am amazed by the fantastic initiatives taken on by everyone to keep the world go round and our bookish planet breathe. On Thursday, I was extremely pleased to hear from Harrogate…
WHAT IS THIS ABOUT?
Since 2004, the best-selling Scottish author of the Tony Hill & Carol Jordan series has curated an annual celebration of the most formidable debuts taking the crime and thriller genre by storm, with an invitation to join the line-up of the world’s largest and most prestigious crime fiction festival: Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.
The 2020 Chosen Ones are:
– Deepa Anappara – Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line (Chatto & Windus)
– Elizabeth Kay – Seven Lies (Sphere)
– Jessica Moor – Keeper (Penguin)
– Trevor Wood – The Man on the Street (Quercus)
This year, Deepa Anappara has been selected for her part coming-of-age, part detective mystery Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, a heart-breaking and thought-provoking social commentary of modern India’s slums that has been recognised for the Women’s Prize. Elizabeth Kay is on the list for her explosive Seven Lies, taking domestic noir to a whole new level in a deliciously dark blurring of truth and lies, and Jessica Moore is recognised for her brutal and beautiful Keeper, the addictive literary thriller that has had everyone talking. Concluding this year’s New Blood contingent is Trevor Wood and his debut The Man on the Street, a gritty thriller set on the streets of Newcastle.
Meggy’s note: I have only read Trevor Wood’s The Man on the Street and URGE YOU to buy it! I am planning on reading all three other books now!
Trevor Wood said: “As a kid I dreamt of playing in the cup final. I’m a fraction older now but being chosen for Harrogate’s New Blood panel feels exactly like that did.”
Jessica Moor said: “To have been chosen for this panel, which has included some of my favourite new authors of the last decade, and to have been chosen by the legendary Val McDermid, is a such an honour.”
Deepa Anappara said: “I am thrilled and honoured to be picked for the New Blood panel, and grateful to Val McDermid for her immense generosity and support of debut novelists.”
Elizabeth Kay said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to have been selected for such a prestigious event. The ‘New Blood’ panel has an incredible history, and I’m delighted to be participating this year alongside three really exciting other authors.”
Val McDermid said: “I have been hosting the New Blood showcase since the festival began in 2003 and, in my book, discovering and sharing new talent with an eager audience is the best job in crime fiction. 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. 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. Whilst we can’t gather en masse at the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate this year, I hope that readers will enjoy our virtual introduction to these brilliant new writers.”
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 – Theakston Old Peculier: Abir Mukherjee, Jane Harper and Oyinkan Braithwaite, who was chosen just last year for her Booker longlisted My Sister, the Serial Killer.
This year’s instalment – which formed part of Harrogate International Festival Summer Season – was cancelled, with much sadness, due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and so the 2020 ‘New Blood’ showcase will be streamed on the festival’s HIF Player on what would have been the legendary weekender on Saturday 25 July 2020.
Deepa Anappara – Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line (Chatto & Windus)
In a basti on the outskirts of a sprawling Indian city, nine-year-old Jai watches too many reality cop shows in the house he shares with his family. Jai thinks he’s smarter than his friend Pari (even though she always gets top marks) and considers himself to be a better boss than his hardworking friend Faiz (even though he has a job). When their classmate from school goes missing, the Djinn Patrol ventures out, wielding their detective skills into the bustling city to investigate; through the rattle-tattle energy and mouth-watering smells of the bazaar, to the dangerous rubbish ground and as far as the railway station at the end of the Purple Line. But children continue to vanish, and the trio must confront terrified parents, an unsympathetic police force and soul-snatching djinns in order to uncover the truth. As the disappearances edge ever closer to home, the lives of Jai and his friends will be altered forever.
Deepa Anappara grew up in Kerala, southern India, and worked as a journalist in cities including Mumbai and Delhi. Her reports on the impact of poverty and religious violence on the education of children won the Developing Asia Journalism Awards, the Every Human has Rights Media Awards, and the Sanskriti-Prabha Dutt Fellowship in Journalism. A partial of her debut novel, Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, won the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, the Bridport/Peggy Chapman-Andrews Award and the Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, Norwich, and is currently studying for a PhD on a CHASE doctoral fellowship. Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line will be publised in America, Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Spain and Sweden. deepa-anappara.com
Elizabeth Kay – Seven Lies (Sphere)
Only you know the
truth: Jane and Marnie have been inseparable since they were eleven years old. In their twenties, they both married handsome young men. Years later, Jane and Marnie are still best friends – and both men are dead. But if Jane had been honest from the start – if she hadn’t told that first little white lie – then perhaps the person she loves most would still love her too. Perhaps everything would be different. This is Jane’s opportunity to tell the real story – if you can believe her. As Jane narrates hers and Marnie’s shared history and unpicks each of seven increasingly catastrophic lies, she reveals the pockets of darkness that have infiltrated their friendship; the toxic secrets still bubbling beneath; and a tale of obsession, of grief, and the real meaning of truth.
Elizabeth Kay (@AnyOtherLizzy) started her career as an assistant at Penguin Random House. She is now a commissioning editor and is simultaneously pursuing her passion for writing. Her debut novel, Seven Lies, will be published in 2020. Elizabeth lives in London with her husband. @AnyOtherLizzy
Jessica Moor – Keeper (Penguin)
He’s been looking in the windows again. Messing with cameras. Leaving notes. Supposed to be a refuge. But death got inside. When Katie Straw’s body is pulled from the waters of the local suicide spot, the police decide it’s an open-and-shut case. A standard-issue female suicide. But the residents of Widringham women’s refuge where Katie worked don’t agree. They say it’s murder. Will you listen to them?
Jessica Moor (@jessicammoor) studied English at Cambridge before completing a Creative Writing MA at Manchester University. Prior to this she spent a year working in the violence against women and girls sector and this experience inspired her first novel, KEEPER.
Trevor Wood – The Man on the Street (Quercus)
It started with a splash. Jimmy, a homeless veteran grappling with PTSD, did his best to pretend he hadn’t heard it – the sound of something heavy falling into the Tyne at the height of an argument between two men on the riverbank. Not his fight. Maybe it was another of his vivid nightmares? Since he found himself living on the streets, avoiding other people’s fights has helped him to survive. Trouble finds him easily enough without looking for it. Then a newspaper headline catches his eye: GIRL IN MISSING DAD PLEA. The girl, Carrie, reminds him of someone he lost. This makes his mind up: it’s time to stop hiding from his past. But telling Carrie, what he heard – or thought he heard – turns out to be just the beginning of the story. The police don’t believe him. Who believes a homeless man? But Carrie is adamant that something awful has happened to her dad and Jimmy agrees to help her, putting himself at risk from enemies old and new. But Jimmy has one big advantage: when you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose.
Trevor Wood (@TrevorWoodWrite) has lived in Newcastle for twenty-five years and considers himself an adopted Geordie. He’s a successful playwright who has also worked as a journalist and spin-doctor for the City Council. Prior to that he served in the Royal Navy for sixteen years. Trevor holds an MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) from UEA. The Man on the Street is his first novel.
I hope those novels make it to your reading list! I know they’re already on mine!
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