The Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award honours writers who have made a lasting and distinct impression on the genre over the span of their careers, and are often people who have provided inspiration for other great authors who have followed in their wake.
The inaugural Outstanding Contribution Award was presented at the 2010 Festival to Reginald Hill, in a year which marked the 40th anniversary of the publication of his very first novel, A Clubbable Woman. The book was the first in the hugely successful Dalziel and Pascoe series which went to became a TV hit. Since then, Hill has written over forty books in a variety of genres.
Hill’s acceptance speech was warm and witty and full of praise for his editor, HarperCollins’ Julia Wisdom.
The second presentation of the Theakstons Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award was made in 2011 to PD James. At 91, she was delighted to collect the award: “It is always a satisfaction and an encouragement for a writer to win a prize, but I am particularly proud to be honoured by the Theakstons Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award because it comes from Harrogate, a town which it is always a delight to visit and which is the home of one of the most distinguished and pleasurable English literary festivals.”
Born in Oxford in 1920, Baroness James of Holland Park began writing in the 1950s. Her debut novel, Cover Her Face, was published in 1962 featuring her now famous investigator, Adam Dalgliesh. Many of her books have been adapted for film and television, including her 1992 novel Children of Men, which in 2006 was adapted for Hollywood, starring Clive Owen and directed by Alfonso Cuarón.
In 2012, Colin Dexter was award the third Theakstons Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award. He began writing mysteries in 1973 while on a family holiday. His debut novel, Last Bus to Woodstock, was published in 1975 and introduced the world to Inspector Morse for the first time. One of the most iconic detectives ever to have been created, Morse’s crime-solving talents found a whole new audience in the successful TV series, bringing further acclaim for Dexter. On receiving the award Dexter said: “Never had I thought that the gods would be kindly enough to give me such a huge honour so late in my life. Yet here I am, in my early eighties, feeling a profound and heartfelt gratitude for the great honour bestowed on me.”