Morse Creator, Colin Dexter Honoured at Harrogate.

Colin Dexter given the 'Theakstons Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award'

It has been announced that Colin Dexter, creator of the Morse series will be honoured on the 19th July 2012 at the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate. Colin Dexter is the recipient of the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award’.

Born in Lincolnshire in 1930, Dexter won a scholarship to the local grammar school and, after completing his National Service, went on to study at Cambridge. Since 1966 he has lived in Oxford with his wife, with whom he has two children. His debut novel, ‘Last Bus to Woodstock’, was published in 1975 and introduced the world to Inspector Morse for the first time. One of the most iconic detectives ever to have been created, Morse’s crime-solving talents found a whole new audience in the successful TV series, bringing further acclaim for Dexter. Inspector Morse appears in 13 novels and numerous short stories. Dexter has won many awards for his novels, including the CWA Silver Dagger twice and the CWA Gold Dagger for both ‘The Wench is Dead’ and ‘The Way Through the Woods’. In 1997, he was presented with the CWA Diamond Dagger for outstanding services to crime literature and, in 2000, was awarded the OBE in The Queen's Birthday Honours.

After retiring from a 13-year teaching career, Colin Dexter began writing mysteries in 1973 while on a family holiday. At a loose end and the rain pouring down, he began an outline of a book which was to become the first of the Morse series, ‘Last Bus To Woodstock’. Little did Dexter know that in years to come he would create such an enigmatic character who would dominate prime time television for years to come. With the advent of ‘Lewis’ and now ‘Endeavour’ as part of the Morse ‘franchise’ I am sure Dexter himself could never have imagined how big his creation would become and how Morse would dominate our TV screens.

My first introduction to this author was with the paperback of ‘The Wench is Dead’ which went on to win the CWA Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel 1989. It was published two years after Morse’s first TV appearance in 1987, (The Dead of Jericho was the first to be aired) but I had not followed the TV series (a wrong I have righted since). ‘The Wench is Dead’ held my imagination and that slim book was finished very quickly indeed. Even to this day, it remains one of my favourite crime novels.

For me personally, I can’t think of this award going to a nicer man. Colin Dexter is always polite, generous and good humoured and you get the sense that the great man is quietly bemused by it all. I know there will be many fans of Dexter’s books lining up to congratulate him. Colin Dexter is a fine choice for a mighty fine prize.


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