The Crime Writers’ Association has awarded its Cartier Diamond Dagger for 2007 to the outstanding British novelist, John Harvey.
The presentation of the award, made for sustained excellence in the genre of crime writing, was made by M. Arnaud Bamberger of Cartier and took place at a champagne reception at the Savoy Hotel in early May 2007.
JOHN HARVEY has been described as “one of the masters of British crime fiction” by the Sunday Telegraph, and “one of the leading writers of crime fiction alive today” by Le Monde. He was born in 1938 in north London, where, after several lengthy sojourns in Nottingham, he continues to live. Like many successful writers, he learned his trade writing pulp fiction – including many westerns. He has close to one hundred published titles to his credit and his latest, Gone to Ground will be published by February 2007 by William Heinemann.
Harvey is best known for his critically-acclaimed sequence of Charlie Resnick novels, the first of which, Lonely Hearts, was named by The Times as one of the Hundred Best Crime Novels of the Last Century. The second novel, Rough Treatment, was shortlisted for the CWA Gold and Silver Dagger for Fiction, and the final book in the series, Last Rites, won the first ever Sherlock Award for Best Detective Created by a British Author.
In April 2000, Cold Light was awarded the Grand Prix du Roman Noir Étranger at the Cognac International Festival. More recently, Flesh and Blood, the first of a new series of novels featuring retired police detective Frank Elder, won the CWA Silver Dagger for Fiction and, in the United States, the Barry Award for Best British Crime Novel of 2004. His work has also been nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, the CWA Dagger in the Library, and the French CWA Award for Best Foreign Novel.
When told of his win, Mr Harvey said: “My reaction to hearing I was to be the recipient of the next Diamond Dagger? Gobsmacked. Absolutely, totally taken by surprise. And then, of course, delight. It was all I could do not to waltz out into the street and accost any stray passers-by with the news. Instead, I calmed myself down with a strong cup of coffee, phoned my editor at Random House, and relaxed under a small tide of congratulatory e-mails and phone calls. It is a terrific honour, coming, as it does, from my fellow scribblers and scriveners, whose judgement I value perhaps above all others – and to see my name added to a list which includes so many leading exponents of the craft.”
In addition to being a novelist, Harvey is also a scriptwriter, poet, and occasional broadcaster. In 1992, Harvey’s screenplay for Resnick: Lonely Hearts won a Bronze Medal in the Best TV Drama Series section at The New York Festivals and in 1999, his dramatisation of Graham Greene’s The End of The Affair was runner-up in the Sony Radio Drama Awards. In addition to his own Resnick stories, his work for radio includes dramatisations of Graham Greene’s The Heart of the Matter, The Frederica Quartet by A. S. Byatt, and, most recently, the dramatisation, with Shelley Silas, of Paul Scott’s The Raj Quartet.
John Harvey wins the Cartier Diamond Dagger in its twenty-second year. It has been awarded annually, to mark a lifetime’s achievement in crime writing, since 1986, when the first winner was Eric Ambler. Subsequent recipients have been P.D. James, John le Carré, Dick Francis, Julian Symons, Ruth Rendell, Leslie Charteris, Ellis Peters, Michael Gilbert, Reginald Hill, H.R.F. Keating, Colin Dexter, Ed McBain, Margaret Yorke, Peter Lovesey, Lionel Davidson, Sara Paretsky, Robert Barnard, Lawrence Block, Ian Rankin and Elmore Leonard.