Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Val McDermid Wins Diamond Dagger

Writer Val McDermid has just been awarded the Cartier Diamond Dagger Lifetime Achievement Award. This coveted award, presented by the Crime Writers' Association, has been sponsored by Cartier since its inception in 1986. The CWA committee selects writers nominated by the membership. Nominees have to meet two essential criteria: first, their careers must be marked by sustained excellence, and second, they must have made a significant contribution to crime fiction published in the English language, whether originally or in translation. The award is made purely on merit without reference to age, gender or nationality.

The announcement by the Crime Writers’ Association recognizes McDermid's work over more than 20 years. In 1995 she won the CWA Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year for The Mermaids Singing, which first introduced her readership to Tony Hill and Carol Jordan and went on to become an international bestseller. Fever of the Bone is the sixth novel of this series , the inspiration behind the TV series "Wire in the Blood."

When bestselling (and local) novelist Chelsea Cain read at Broadway Books recently, she revealed that Val McDermid and her Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series was the impetus behind the writing of her Portland-based series about serial killer Gretchen Lowell. After getting hooked on the first three books in the series, Cain became impatient waiting for the fourth and decided to start her own series -- thus Gretchen Lowell, Archie Sheridan, and Susan Ward were born.

"I'm thrilled and proud but also a bit gobsmacked," said McDermid. "The Diamond Dagger is the jewel in the crown for any crime writer, and this makes me a member of a pretty stellar club. But I still think of myself as a young Turk, and it's hard not to see this honour as placing me firmly in the Establishment. I guess I'll just have to regard it as something to defy as well as to embrace!" You just have to love someone who uses the word "gobsmacked," no? This seems like a great occasion to check out McDermid's books.
The UK-based Crime Writers' Association was founded by John Creasey in 1953. Previous winners of the Cartier Diamond Dagger honor include Sue Grafton, Elmore Leonard, Ian Rankin, Sara Paretsky, and PD James.

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