MW Craven has been announced as the winner of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2023, presented by Harrogate International Festivals, for The Botanist.
The Botanist, an instant Sunday Times bestseller, follows the disgraced detective, DS Washington Poe, as he is tasked with catching a poisoner sending the nation’s most reviled people poems and pressed flowers, whilst his close friend, pathologist Estelle Doyle, seeks his help when she is arrested for the murder of her father.
Multi-award-winning author Mike Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle.
He joined the army at sixteen, leaving ten years later to complete a social work degree. Seventeen years after taking up a probation officer role in Cumbria, at the rank of assistant chief officer, he became a full-time author.
He receives a £3,000 prize, as well as an engraved beer cask handcrafted by one of Britain’s last coopers from Theakstons Brewery.
Mr Craven said on winning Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year: “This was genuinely the biggest shock of my life. It was a huge honour to be shortlisted among friends.
“I’m utterly thrilled, this is the biggest award for crime fiction.”
The announcement was made at The Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate, during the opening ceremony for the one of the most prestigious crime writing festivals, where crime fiction icons including Val McDermid and Jeffery Deaver will take to the stage
Simon Theakston, executive director of Theakston, commented: “Tonight’s winners truly represent Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Awards’ well-earned reputation for showcasing the very best crime writing talent.
READ MORE: Carlisle Labour candidate launches rail ticket office petition
“The Botanist is a real encapsulation of masterful crime writing, pushing the boundaries of imagination and crafting narratives that are shaping the future of the genre.
“We’re so pleased to raise a glass of Theakston Old Peculier to their wins!”
The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year is run by Harrogate International Festivals and was open to full-length crime novels published in paperback between May 1 2022 to April 30 2023 by UK and Irish authors.