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Former Police Officer Beats Harry Potter’s Author | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Clare Mackintosh won with her debut thriller, I Let You Go. CREDIT: EPA

London- Former policewoman Clare Mackintosh has beaten JK Rowling to the Theakstons Old Peculier crime novel of the year award for her novel “I Let You Go”.

Mackintosh spent 12 years working as an officer in the British police and has decided to leave her career in 2011 to work as a full-time writer. Commenting on the decision of the award’s jury, she said:

“I first came to Harrogate as an unpublished author, so to win this award tonight is a dream come true”; she also thanked her publishers for their trust and support in writing her novel.

The crime writing prize is now in its twelfth year, with previous winners including Val McDermid, Lee Child, Mark Billingham, Sarah Hilary and Denise Mina.

Mackintosh, who will receive £3,000, beat off competition from a shortlist including British and Irish authors whose novels were published in paperback between May 2015 and April 2016.

Before winning the Old Peculier crime novel, “I Let You Go” has marked significant presence; it was a Sunday Times bestseller and a Richard and Judy book club winner in 2015. Figures suggest that the novel’s sales have reached 500,000 copy till date, and is expected to increase after authorizing copyrights in more than 30 countries around the world.

At the awards ceremony, previous winner McDermid was also presented with a special prize, the Theakstons Old Peculier outstanding contribution to crime fiction award.

Fellow crime writer Rowling said she was grateful to McDermid for a positive review of Galbraith’s writing, before his true identity was revealed.

Harry Potter author Rowling was shortlisted for Career of Evil, written under her pen name Robert Galbraith, but lost out at the award to Mackintosh with her thriller. Critics said that Mackintosh’s novel was real and has reflected real-life experiences she lived in her career as a police officer.

It is worth mentioning that the final list of the Theakstons Old Peculier crime novel of the year award included four novels written by women versus two written by men; apparently the publishing industry has recognized that the crime is more convincing and tempting to read when written by women, which means it can make more revenues especially that most of the crime novel’s audience in the West are from women.

Recent statistics revealed that 80% of this genre of books sold yearly around the world are bought by women.