Winning a Dead Good Reader Award by Marnie Riches, author of "The Girl Who Wouldn't Die".

So, The Girl Who Wouldn't Die was shortlisted for a Dead Good Reader Award, which I had never
anticipated would happen. I went along to the awards ceremony on Friday 17th July 2015, during the Theakstons Crime Festival, otherwise known as Harrogate, with my agent and my publisher. The queue to get into the room was enormous, and though I never had a hope in hell of winning in my category, given the huge names I was up against, I was nervous as hell.

I could tell you about the prizes that were handed out in the other categories. I maybe have a memory of Val McDermid saying some wonderful things, and Lee Child being debonair and handing an award out. Peter James said something endearing which everyone clapped. Anne Cleeves went up on stage with Blenda Blethyn. I remember being impressed by that. But I wasn't paying attention... not until the lovely Alison Hennessey from Harville Secker, who took to the podium to hand out The Patricia Highsmith Award for Most Exotic Location, started talking about the, "city coming alive" or something or other. I'm slightly hard of hearing in my left ear, so I'm not the most attentive listener at the best of times. But by this point, my agent was practically propping me up, because on some level, I knew Alison was referring to Amsterdam in The Girl Who Wouldn't Die. On another level, however, I was a bag of self-doubting nerves and couldn't possibly have won.

Yes, I look bonkers. This is what surprise looks like.
But then, I did win! I stumbled up onto the stage and swore almost immediately, waxing lyrical about how I never could win an argument, let alone an award. People actually laughed, but probably because I looked manic and slightly bonkers, as is witnessed in this photo, taken by official Harrogate photographer, Fenris Oswin. I think I remembered to thank the correct people from the bottom of my heart. And my thanks are from the bottom of my heart - thanks to the readers, my agent, my publisher, my mother, my kids and the Dead Good people, of course. I thanked Alison later in the bar, once I had got a good six or seven units of champagne inside me.

It was a vintage night. Winning an award for your writing - particularly one that has been voted for by readers - is a life-affirming experience. I could get hooked on that kind of high. And the best bit? The best bit is that I get to keep the award and the photos of me looking like Kermit the Frog on acid.

I hope that the follow-up to my debut - The Girl Who Broke the Rules - will prove as popular as George McKenzie's first adventure.
Me, with Eli Dryden, Publisher at Avon/HarperCollins

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