24 Jul 2011

Crime writer critical of ''snobbery''

3:05 pm on 24 July 2011

Author Lee Child, who writes the best-selling Jack Reacher series, has won the novel of the year award at the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival.

Child has sold 50 million books around the world.

After the ceremony, he was critical of ''snobbery'' surrounding crime novels.

''Literary writers are seeing lots of people reading us and relatively few people reading them, and they're cross about it,'' Child told BBC News.

Child (whose real name is Jim Grant) has written 16 books about Reacher, a former military policeman who roams the United States, combating crime rings and conspiracies.

He recently became the first British author to sell a million e-books for Amazon's Kindle reading device.

His book 61 Hours won the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award on the opening night of the festival on Thursday.

The BBC reports veteran author PD James, 90, was at the event to accept an outstanding contribution accolade.

Baroness James, who wrote the Adam Dalgliesh detective novels, told the nominees:

''You won't win the Booker (Prize) I'm afraid. But don't worry about that.

''You will be bringing entertainment and relief from the problems of the world to millions of people.''

Earlier this year, Crime Writers Association chairman Peter James said a Booker judge had told him ''hell would freeze over before a popular crime writer wins the Booker Prize''.

Asked whether crime fiction was subjected to snobbery from the literary establishment, Lee Child said: ''There definitely is. Not among the mass of the readers, obviously, because they're reading us and not them.''