Northumberland-based author Jacqueline Auld has taken home the prestigious Lindisfarne Prize for Crime Fiction, a literary prize which celebrates the outstanding crime and thriller storytelling of those who are from, or whose work celebrates, the North East of England.
Jacqueline’s submission The Children of Gaia was selected by the prize’s esteemed panel of judges, featuring bestselling crime writer, Nicky Black; founder of Newcastle Noir festival, Dr Jacky Collins; last year’s winner of the prize, Robert Scragg; and bestselling author and founder of the prize, LJ Ross.
The judges praised Jacqueline’s writing for its “claustrophobic and atmospheric” nature, while also highlighting the story’s strong concept and page-turner potential.
A keen fan of crime fiction, Gateshead-born Jacqueline, who now lives in Bedlington in South East Northumberland, started writing 10 years ago having graduated from the Open University with a degree in Social Policy and Criminology. Jacqueline draws inspiration from three decades working in the pub trade, and two decades in the charity sector where she provided advice to people in debt, helped the unemployed to find jobs and worked with offenders.
Commenting on winning the prize, Jacqueline said: “I am so excited to have won this award. It has given me such a boost to know that the judges thought my work worthy of being this year’s winner. When I read about all the other shortlisted authors and their submissions I was so impressed I honestly didn’t think I stood a chance – I’ll definitely be reading their work when it’s published. I intend to make the most of this wonderful opportunity by sitting myself down and writing, every day, no excuses, because I know now I can actually do this.”
Now in its fourth year, the Lindisfarne Prize for Crime Fiction was founded by author LJ Ross and is sponsored by her publishing imprint Dark Skies Publishing, in association with the Newcastle Noir Crime Writing Festival and Newcastle Libraries. The aim of the prize is not only to provide financial support, but to help build and maintain creative confidence for new, emerging and established writers in the crime and thriller genre.
LJ Ross said: “Every year I’m astonished by the quality of the submissions we receive for the Lindisfarne Prize for Crime Fiction, and this year certainly didn’t disappoint. It is encouraging to see so many talented writers emerging in the North East and such fantastic work drawing inspiration from our special part of the world. I’d like to congratulate Jacqueline on her well-deserved success. We all look forward to reading more of her work.”
Jacqueline will receive a £2,500 cash prize to support the completion of her work, and funding towards a year’s membership of the Society of Authors (SoA) and the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).