Chris Whitaker’s We Begin at the End was awarded the prestigious Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year at a live ceremony in Harrogate last night (22nd July, 2021).

Published by Zaffre, the thriller picked up the coveted award at The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival’s traditional curtain-raiser at The Old Swan Hotel. The award follows hot on the heels of Whitaker’s recent CWA Gold Dagger win, and rounds off a remarkable year for the New York Times bestseller.

Whitaker said: ‘I began writing this book as a form of therapy after being mugged and stabbed. Without doubt this story saved my life, so to win this award feels like a wonderful, dreamlike end to a journey that has been 20 years in the making.’

Simon Theakston, executive director of T&R Theakston, remarked: ‘The contest for this year’s Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award has been fiercely fought – a reflection of the outstanding of the longlisted and shortlisted crime fiction published within the last year. I offer Chris Whitaker my hearty congratulations for clinching the title for his powerful and insightful We Begin at the End.

Whitaker lifted the engraved oak beer cask after being chosen as the winner by a combination of public vote, judging panel, and the prize academy. Other shortlisted novels included Brian McGilloway’s ‘highly commended’ The Last Crossing.

Run by Harrogate International Festivals and now in its 17th year, the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year has previously been awarded to the likes of Val McDermid, Mark Billingham, and Lee Child.

We Begin at the End is Whitaker’s third novel and has been picked as a Guardian thriller of the year and a Mirror best book of the year. His YA debut The Forevers published in July 2021 with Hot Key Books.