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Armagh author takes on Stephen King in literary world’s ‘Oscars’

An Armagh author has been shortlisted alongside the legendary master of the macabre Stephen King in the ‘Best Novel’ category of one of the world’s most prestigious literary awards.

Stuart Neville’s book ‘The Final Silence’ is one of six named in the category – the big prize on the night for the ‘Edgars’ – named after Edgar Allan Poe, the famed American writer, poet, editor and critic.

The awards will take place at a glittering, star-studded bash in New York on April 29.

Stuart, a former pupil of the Royal School Armagh, lives in Portadown with his wife, who is the acting manager of Tandragee Branch Library.

‘The Final Silence’ is his fifth novel; his first ‘The Twelve’ – released in the United States as ‘The Ghosts of Belfast’ – propelled him on a meteoric literary journey.

His fourth book ‘Ratlines’ was a change of direction from the Troubles-rooted fiction for which he has earned millions of fans worldwide, with a journey back in time to 1963 and a plot influenced by the Second World War. It is also in development for the screen as a TV series.

Stuart has built a huge fan base amongst his peers and is a close personal friend of his hero, James Ellroy, the crime noir writer behind such classics as ‘LA Confidential’.

‘The Final Silence’ is a terrifying tale, a rollercoaster ride of what comes to light in the pages of a dead man’s journal, found locked in a house inherited by his niece.

It got its UK release at the No Alibis Book Store in Belfast last July, and then was released Stateside at the end of October, which coincided with a tour of the US.

This week the short-list was announced for the Edgars and Stuart took to Twitter to break the good news, tweeting that he was “shocked and delighted” to learn of the honour.

And he followed that up with: “You know it’s a good email from your editor when the subject line starts with HOLY SHIT!”

Good email indeed, because Stuart will be in some amazing company.

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Legendary horror author Stephen King

Nominated alongside him for ‘Best Novel’ is one of the world’s biggest ever selling writers, Stephen King (pictured) the man who gave us such modern classics as ‘The Shining’, ‘Carrie’, ‘Misery’, ”Salem’s Lot’, ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ and ‘The Green Mile’.

King is nominated for his book ‘Mr Mercedes’, which also is a change of form to a more crime offering from the horror master.

They are joined in the running by Wiley Cash for ‘The Dark Road to Mercy’, Mo Hayder’s ‘Wolf’, ‘Coptown’ by Karin Slaughter and ‘Saints of the Shadow Bible’ by Ian Rankin.

We at Armagh I would like to wish Stuart all the best of luck – an amazing achievement from a huge talent in his genre.

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