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Val McDermid

Lizzy Kremer
Film, TV and Stage Agent:
Clare Israel

Dubbed the Queen of Crime, Val McDermid has sold over 18.5 million books to date across the globe and is translated into over 40 languages. She is perhaps best-known for her Wire in the Blood series, featuring clinical psychologist Dr Tony Hill and DCI Carol Jordan, which was adapted for television starring Robson Green and Hermione Norris. She has written three other series: private detective Kate Brannigan, journalist Lindsay Gordon and, most recently, cold case detective Karen Pirie. She has also published in several award-winning standalone novels, books of non-fiction, short story collections and a children’s picture book, My Granny is a Pirate.

McDermid continues to be a remarkably versatile writer for stage, microphone and screen as well as books. In early 2017 Val’s latest BBC Radio 4 drama series, Resistance, aired to great acclaim. And in the last couple of years, she has returned to writing for the theatre with Margaret Saves Scotland as well as the primetime TV series Traces based on her original idea and starring Molly Windsor and Martin Compston which was well received in late 2019. ITV have subsequently announced the commissioning of a new drama Karen Pirie based on Val’s eponymous series character.

She is also an experienced broadcaster with regular and hugely popular appearances on TV and radio. Val has guest edited BBC Radio 4’s Front Row, fronted two features for BBC Two’s The Culture Show and appeared on a huge variety of TV shows from Question Time to Have I Got News For You. She further added to her broadcasting credentials in late 2016 by captaining the winning University Challenge alumnae team, having previously become Celebrity Mastermind champion!  She is also lead singer of the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, possibly the only band made up of crime writers ever to play at Glastonbury.

Val has won many awards internationally, including the CWA Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year, the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger, the Grand Prix des Romans D’Aventure, the Lambda Literary Foundation Pioneer Award in 2011, the Stonewall Writer of the Year and the LA Times Book of the Year Award. In 2016 she received the Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction award at the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Harrogate Crime Festival and in 2017 she was elected a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Val has previously served as a judge for both the Man Booker Prize and the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and was the Chair of the Wellcome Book Prize in 2017. She is the recipient of five Honorary Doctorates and is an Honorary Fellow of St Hilda’s College, Oxford. Her story Resurrection: Message from the Skies was a landmark conceptual installation in Edinburgh in January 2018.

Val was born in Kirkcaldy, a coastal town in the heart of the Scottish mining community. She graduated in English at St Hilda’s College, Oxford – the first from a Scottish state school to do so – before going on to be an award winning journalist for sixteen years. Her first novel was published in 1987.  She is a lifelong Raith Rovers Football Club supporter and served for six years as a board director. Val’s other loves in life include walking, music, and cooking.

Val’s newest thriller, and the latest instalment in the Karen Pirie series, Past Lying,  was published in October 2023.

Past Lying

Selected titles