Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Way back in the dim and distant past (well, it was 1999, to be exact), I had a novel shortlisted for the first ever Dundee Book Prize.

My book was called THE HOWFF, and it was set in Dundee, which was one of the criteria for the award in its first year. I didn't win, of course - but a month later I signed a contract with HarperCollins for the first two titles in the Cooper & Fry series, so I wasn't too upset!

In those days, the Dundee prize was worth £6,000, which already made it the most valuable prize in the UK for an unpublished novel (outstripping the £5,000 Lichfield Prize). The winner in 1999 was Andrew Murray Scott with a book called TUMULUS, which was duly published by sponsors Polygon. But my main memory of the award presentations in Dundee was the fact that I was rubbing shoulders with literary types such as Rosamund Pilcher, Liz Lochhead and Douglas Dunn. Heady stuff for a crime writer!

This all came back to me this week, when the latest winner of the Dundee Book Prize was announced. Scottish writer Chris Longmuir received the award, now worth a whopping £10,000, for DEAD WOOD - a novel about a serial killer, inspired by a real-life series of murders in Dundee 30 years ago. Yes, folks, it's a crime novel.

Chris Longmuir has been struggling for years to get published, and I can imagine what it must feel like for her right now. You can read more about her on her website:

Well done, Chris!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Stephen. I've met you either at Dead on Deansgate or Harrogate Crime Festival, can't remember which. Funnily enough I had a novel called THE HOWFF in for the first Dundee book prize as well. It was a historical crime, not even placed though. This was my third attempt. I'll be at Harrogate this year, so if you're there come up and say hello. Chris Longmuir