Northumberland author's debut novel shortlisted for award

TV scriptwriter Marrisse Whittaker has been shortlisted for a prestigious crime writer’s award for her first novel.

Monday, 27th April 2020, 4:45 pm

Marisse, from Lesbury, is in the running for The Lindisfarne Prize, for Debut Crime Fiction.

Remarkably, she only found out about the competition when she picked up a promotional leaflet in Alnwick’s new library on opening day in December.

She said: “I’m up against some tough competition from published fiction writers with impressive records, including Pru Heathcote, from neighbouring Warkworth, but I’m enjoying the experience of writing my first ever work of crime fiction and am thrilled to have been shortlisted from a huge number of entries.”

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Marrisse Whittaker.

Marrisse has written TV scripts for programmes including Hollyoaks, Doctors and Byker Grove but this is her first venture into writing novels.

She started her career as a make-up artist working in theatre, films and TV and was involved in productions such as Elizabeth with Cate Blanchett, partly filmed in Alnwick and several TV projects featuring Robson Green.

Later she teamed up with her partner Bob Whittaker to start factual TV production company, Orion TV, making programmes for Channel 4, BBC, Discovery and History Channels including a series, Brush With Britain, featuring artist Charles Evans from Acklington.

The award, sponsored by international bestselling author L.J Ross, in association with the Newcastle Crime Noir Writing Festival, is a literary prize which recognises outstanding writing in the genre of crime or thriller fiction.

The winning author will be awarded a prize of £2,500 to support the completion of their work, as well as free editorial and mentoring services from a publisher and funding towards a year’s membership of industry associations.

To be eligible, the authors either have to be resident in, or have their work celebrate, the North of England in the genre of crime or thriller fiction.

Last year’s inaugural award was written by Cressida Downing, with her work, The Roll Bearer’s Daughter, which is set on Holy Island at the turn of the 15th century.

The 2020 winner will be announced early next month.

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