Michael Robotham, an Australian ghostwriter you’ve probably never heard of, has shown that the little guy can still win. In competition against the likes of literary giants Stephen King and J.K. Rowling, Robotham has won top recognition in the form of a Daggar Award, courtesy of the Crime Writer’s Association.

Robotham has previously ghostwritten celebrity memoirs by Geri Halliwell, Lulu and Rolf Harris — but lest you think he’s a lightweight, check out some excerpts from his award winning novel Life or Death, about a man who inexplicably escapes from prison the day before he’s due to be released from a long sentence:

We get given our faces, thinks Audie, but we inherit our lives, our happiness and our unhappiness. Some get a lot, some get a little. Some savor every morsel and suck the marrow out of every bone. We take pleasure in the sound of rain, the smell of cut grass, the smiles of strangers, the feeling of dawn on a hot day. We learn things and realize we can never know more than we don’t know. We catch love like a cold and cling to it like wreckage in a storm.

“He didn’t lead anyone on, or make any promises. Instead he conveyed a sense of calm and equanimity, like a man who had banished from his life all superfluous sentiment, all longings and all patience for the nonessential. He was like Yoda, Buddha and the Gladiator all rolled into one.”

Stephen King and J.K. Rowling, aside from being very famous, are known for being generally congenial people and bringing lots of twitter sass. Neither disappointed with their reactions to being upstaged by Robotham. Stephen King did not attend the event — because he was busy tweeting about more important things.

And the ever-gracious J.K. Rowling was the first to congratulate her competition.

Crime writers may work with murder and blood and scheming on the page, but they’re among the most congenial in real life… unless, of course, it’s because if anything happened to Robotham, they know who the first suspects would be.


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