Robert Galbraith, the crime writing pseudonym for ‘Harry Potter’ author J.K. Rowling, has been selected for the longlist of nominees for Crime Novel of the Year for the first time.

‘Career of Evil’, the third novel that Rowling has published under the male nom de plume, was announced as one of the 18 nominees for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award, against both seasoned veterans and newcomers to the genre.

JK RowlingJ.K. Rowling has been nominated for a crime writing award under her pseudonym Robert Galbraith

Rowling began writing the Cormoran Strike series of novels under an assumed name in 2013, starting with ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ and was followed up with ‘The Silkworm’ the following year and ‘Career of Evil’ in October 2015. The latest book sees the detective's assistant being sent a gruesome delivery in the mail.

The real identity of ‘Robert Galbraith’ was revealed after an investigation by the Sunday Times in late 2013, after columnist India Knight noted the similarities between the work in ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ and Rowling’s writing style from the Potter novels. When she was unmasked, sales of that novel rocketed by 4000% and became an Amazon best-seller virtually overnight.

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Elsewhere on the longlist, which will be whittled down to a shortlist of six contenders on May 31st, there’s a healthy mixture of first-time writers against established names. The overall winner will be decided by a combination of a panel of judges and a public vote on July 21st, at the Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate.

Former TV documentary maker Renee Knight’s ‘Disclaimer’ was selected, as was Lisa McInerney’s ‘The Glorious Heresies’. Ruth Ware makes the cut for her debut ‘In a Dark Dark Wood’, about a hen party that ends in tragedy, while Clare Mackintosh’s first novel, ‘I Let You Go’, which is set in the context of a child being killed by a hit-and-run driver, is also longlisted.

Those debutants will be up against the likes of Val McDermind, Mark Billingham and Ann Cleeves. The manager of the Harrogate International Festivals, Gemma Rowlands, said in reaction to the longlist that it “demonstrates that even the giants of the genre are constantly kept on their toes, with debut voices as serious contenders. Last year's winner was a debut from Sarah Hilary. It really shows whoever wins this year will know they've been pitted against the biggest talent at work today.”

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