Author Clare Mackintosh has won the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award in Harrogate for her book I Let You Go.
And J.K. Rowling sent a note of congratulations to the ceremony at the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate.
J.K. Rowling, who writes crime fiction under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, said: “I’d like to add my note of congratulations to my friend and colleague Val McDermid, for her justly deserved Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award.
"She has been showing us all the way for a long time now. One of Robert’s proudest moments was receiving a favourable review from the great McDermid, who received a thank you note in fake handwriting, only to receive one two weeks later in my real handwriting when I was unwillingly unmasked.”
Celebrating its 12th year, the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award is considered one of the most coveted crime writing prizes in the country.
Clare Mackintosh first thriller I Let You Go was one of the fastest selling titles of 2015 and became a Sunday Times bestseller and a Richard & Judy book club winner.
Clare spent 12 years in the police force, including time on CID, and as a public order commander.
She left the police in 2011 and now writes full time. Praised widely for its astonishing twist, overseas rights have now sold in 30 countries.
Clare Mackintosh said: “I first came to Harrogate as an unpublished author so to win this award tonight is a dream come true. I would like to thank my publishers and agent for supporting me, everybody who has read and recommended I Let You Go, and the crime writing community for their endless encouragement.”
Clare was presented the award by title sponsor Simon Theakston and broadcaster Mark Lawson at the opening night of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. The annual Festival, hosted in Harrogate, is the world’s biggest celebration of the genre.
The 2016 Award is sponsored by T&R Theakston Ltd and supported by WHSmith and The Radio Times.
Clare collected a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade, engraved oak beer cask made by Theakston Old Peculier.
A special presentation was also made to Val McDermid - the winner of the seventh Theakston Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award. McDermid joins Sara Paretsky, Lynda La Plante, Ruth Rendell, PD James, Colin Dexter and Reginald Hill as recipients of the Award.