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On The Table Read, “The Best Book Reader Magazine in the UK“, CRIMEFEST, one of Europe’s leading crime writing conventions, has announced the winners of its annual awards.

Now in its 15th year, the awards honour the best crime books released in 2021 in the UK.

The genre is the most popular in the UK. Nielsen BookData’s Books & Consumers survey data shows crime fiction sales in the UK across all formats stood at 54m in 2021; a 7% rise on pre-pandemic levels.

Debut Crime Novel Award

David Heska Wanbli Weiden on The Table Read
David Heska Wanbli Weiden

The winner of the anticipated Specsavers Debut Crime Novel Award, and £1,000 prize monies, is David Heska Wanbli Weiden for Winter Counts published by Simon & Schuster.

Reading Never Goes Out of Style

Named by the New York Times as one of “the most critically acclaimed young novelists working now,” Winter Counts was called a “once-in-a-generation thriller” by the Los Angeles Times. Weiden is the first Native American author to win an Anthony Award and the Thriller Award. Set on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, Winter Counts is an examination of the broken criminal justice system on reservations, and a meditation on Native identity.

Audible Sounds Of Crime Award

Richard Osman and Lesley Manville on The Table Read
Richard Osman and Lesley Manville

A further £1,000 prize is awarded to Richard Osman and actor Lesley Manville, reader of Osman’s The Man Who Died Twice.

It’s the second year the pair has scooped the Audible Sounds of Crime Award, sponsored by Audible and voted by Audible UK listeners, after winning in 2021 for his phenomenal debut smash-hit, The Thursday Murder Club.

All category winners will receive a Bristol Blue Glass commemorative award.

eDunnit Award

The eDunnit Award for the best e-book goes to Abigail Dean for Girl A. Born in Manchester, and a former bookseller for Waterstones, Dean now works as a lawyer for Google. Her astonishing debut novel about siblings who flee abusive parents received widespread acclaim as a story of redemption, horror and love. It was a Sunday Times and New York Times global best seller.

Abigail Dean on The Table Read
Abigail Dean

H.R.F Keating Award

Winner of the H.R.F Keating Award for best biographical or critical book on crime fiction is Patricia Highsmith: Her Diaries and Notebooks, edited by Anna von Planta, which was published for the centenary of Highsmith’s birth in 2021. It was praised by the New York Times as offering “the most complete picture ever published” of the canonical author.

Patricia Highsmith on The Table Read
Patricia Highsmith

Last Laugh Award

The Last Laugh Award goes to Mick Herron’s Slough House. The Jackson Lamb series of dysfunctional British intelligence agents has recently been adapted by Apple TV starring Oscar-winner Gary Oldman.

Mick Herron on The Table Read
Mick Herron

Best Crime Novels For Children and YA

Best Crime Novel for Children, aged 8-12, goes to M.G. Leonard’s birdwatching detective, Twitch. The internationally bestselling author tells a mystery adventure about friendship, bravery and birds, and Twitch is a celebration of the natural world.

Best Crime Novel for Young Adults, aged 12-16, is awarded to Angeline Boulley for Firekeeper’s Daughter. The novel was praised by the Guardian as, “an interrogation of racist misogyny and a swift-paced, compelling thriller.”

Thalia Proctor Memorial Award

This year also sees the introduction of the Thalia Proctor Memorial Award for Best Adapted TV Crime Drama. The award is named in honour of Thalia, a CrimeFest team member and a much-loved figure in the world of crime fiction, and who sadly died earlier this year.

The award is decided entirely by public vote from a longlist of the 43 TV programmes broadcast on British TV in the last year, based on a crime book. Ann Cleeves won the inaugural gong for Shetland, beating a strong shortlist that featured Antony Horowitz for Alex Rider, M.C. Beaton for Agatha Raisin and James Runcie for Grantchester

Ann Cleeves on The Table Read
Ann Cleeves


Adrian Muller, Co-host of CRIMEFEST, said: “The crime genre has dominated the book charts and our TV screens, keeping many of us company, particularly in the last two challenging years. The genre never fails to offer escapism and entertainment, as well as often exploring big issues and emotions. As a genre that also often makes sense of a chaotic world, it’s helped many people and is something we need today more than ever. We’re proud to celebrate the best the genre offers.”

CRIMEFEST had to postpone its 2020 and 2021 conventions, due to Covid restrictions. Hosted in Bristol, it is one of the biggest crime fiction events in Europe, and one of the most popular dates in the international crime fiction calendar, with circa 60 panel events and 150 authors over four days.

CrimeFest on The Table Read

Leading British crime fiction reviewers and reviewers of fiction for children and young adults, alongside the members of the School Library Association (SLA) form the CRIMEFEST judging panels, aside from Audible Sounds of Crime Award in which Audible listeners establish the shortlist and the winning title.

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Co-host of CRIMEFEST, Donna Moore, added: “We are proud to be one of the few genre awards that recognise e-books and audiobooks, humour, children and Young Adult crime fiction novels. We aim to be the most inclusive of awards to reflect the values of our convention, and the incredible diversity and reach of the genre which dominates the cultural landscape.”

CRIMEFEST was created following the hugely successful one-off visit to Bristol in 2006 of the American Left Coast Crime convention. It was established in 2008. It follows the egalitarian format of most US conventions, making it open to all commercially published authors and readers alike.

2022 CrimeFest Award Winners


  • David Heska Wanbli Weiden, Winter Counts (Simon & Schuster)


  • Richard Osman, The Man Who Died Twice read by Lesley Manville (Penguin Random House Audio)


  • Abigail Dean, Girl A (HarperCollins)


  • Patricia Highsmith, Patricia Highsmith: Her Diaries and Notebooks edited by Anna von Planta (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)


  • Mick Herron, Slough House (Baskerville, John Murray Press)


  • M.G. Leonard, Twitch (Walker Books)


  • Angeline Boulley, Firekeeper’s Daughter (Rock the Boat)


  • Shetland (season 6), based on the books by Ann Cleeves. Produced by Silverprint Pictures, part of ITV Studios; shown on BBC1.

About CrimeFest

CrimeFest, sponsored by Specsavers, is hosted from 12 to 15 May 2022 at the Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel. It returns after a two-year hiatus from Covid.

Up to 150 authors will descend on Bristol appearing in over 50 panels.

The convention, which began in 2008, is based on the American convention model and is considered the most democratic and accessible crime fiction event in the UK.

Featured guests in 2022 include Ann Cleeves, Andrew Child, Martin Edwards and Robert Goddard.

Panels delve into diverse topics from division in society today to historical crime, and locked room mysteries to police procedurals.

A ‘from page to screen’ panel includes the number one bestselling Icelandic writer, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and the ‘queen of twists’, Sarah Pinborough – author behind the Netflix hit, Behind Her Eyes.

Other acclaimed authors attending include Holly Watt, Matt Wesolowski, Barry Forshaw, Simon Brett, Vaseem Khan, Helen FitzGerald, Ruth Dudley Edwards and Michael Ridpath.

Find more from CrimeFest

For the full list of authors, go to:


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