Sheffield author shortlisted for major crime writing prize

A Sheffield based writer has made it to the shortlist of a national competition.

Friday, 16th October 2020, 2:19 pm
Author and book reviewer Anna Caig pictured in Orkney
Author and book reviewer Anna Caig pictured in Orkney

Hope Valley author and book reviewer for the Sheffield Telegraph, Anna Caig, has been shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger, a major crime writing prize which aims to discover new talent in the genre.

Previously, Anna has worked for Sheffield City Council and The University of Sheffield, which she also attended, graduating in English Literature in 2001, but it is her passion for the written word which occupies her time nowadays.

On reaching the shortlist, she said: “I’m absolutely over the moon. It’s been my dream to be a published author of crime fiction for a long time - and it’s often felt like a pipe dream. Writing a crime novel is hard work, like doing a 90,000 piece jigsaw and juggling 20 balls at the same time - all while trying to be creative. But recognition from the Crime Writers’ Association makes the hours slaving over my computer worthwhile.”

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The CWA Debut Dagger prize is for the opening of an unpublished crime book and it has acted as a launchpad to success for many writers in the two decades since its inception.Anna’s novel is called The Spae-Wife and is an historical murder mystery set in Orkney in 1593 against the backdrop of the witch trials.

She explained: “I’ve always wanted to write a whodunnit. I love Agatha Christie style plots where there’s a circle of suspects and everyone’s got a secret we uncover over the course of the book.

“Orkney felt like the perfect place to set a story like this. I’m completely in love with the islands; if magic is real anywhere then it’s real there.

"And the period of history covering the witch trials is fascinating. I love exploring what might not have made it into the historical records, the untold stories of people affected by James VI’s obsession."

Anna, who is still writing the book, is hopeful the shortlisting will be a stepping-stone to publishing success. She said: "Finding a publisher for The Spae-Wife would be wonderful.

"At the end of all this, the ultimate goal is to hold a copy of a book with my name on it in my hand.

"That's been my ambition for as long as I can remember and it feels closer than ever before."

The winner will be announced on October 22.


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