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In those days, the Dundee prize was worth £6,000, which already made it the most valuable prize in the UK for an unpublished novel (outstripping the £5,000 Lichfield Prize).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!