THE winner of a new writing competition launched by Tynedale’s own crime queen, LJ Ross, was unveiled with a flourish on Friday. 

Louise Ross, whose 12th book The Moor shot straight to the top of the Amazon bestsellers list this week, aims to nurture new talent with the Lindisfarne Prize for Debut Crime Fiction

Four newcomers are shortlisted: Frank Hutton for Winter’s Gibbet, Keith Dickinson for Miss Bloom’s Final Summation, Harry Wright, writing as Wes T. Mead, for Evens, Evens, Evens, and Cressida Downing for The Roll Bearer’s Daughter.

The prize – £2,500 in cash, free editing and mentoring from Cheshire Cat Books and a year’s membership of the Society of Authors and the Alliance of Independent Authors – will be presented by the Lord Mayor of Newcastle during a ceremony in Newcastle City Library.

“I’ve been absolutely overwhelmed by the response we have had to the very first Lindisfarne Prize,” said Louise. “The talent on display is phenomenal and it’s been amazing to see how each author who entered has been so inspired by the landscape and people of the North-East.

“Narrowing down such a fantastic pool of work has been tough, but we really do feel we have found the crime writers of the future with our shortlist.”

The prize, which was open to unpublished new authors who are either from or whose work celebrates the region, takes its name from her own debut novel, Holy Island.

In the three years since that was published, she has sold around four million copies of her books and topped the bestsellers’ list nine times.

The cash element is designed to encourage the winner to complete their own first book. She said: “They might work fulltime and need time off to be able to do it, or they might have an old computer that needs replacing.

“Whatever it is they need, this prize is about giving them a bit of a nudge to get on and achieve their goal.”

Entries are now being accepted for next year’s prize.