The author of Snap on what it’s like to have the first crime novel longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Man Booker Prize 2018 longlisted author Belinda Bauer reveals how she loves pushing the boundaries of the crime genre and her inspiration for her novel Snap.

What’s it like being the first crime novel longlisted for the prize? 

It’s truly wonderful. This year’s judges have declared that genre should be no barrier to literary ambition, and I think that’s to be celebrated. Almost every great book in the history of literature has crime at its heart, and I’m immensely proud to be representing the genre on the Man Booker stage. I would hope to be the first of many. 

What inspired the novel? 

I took the real 1988 case of the murder of Marie Wilks as my jumping-off point. After the driver went for help and didn’t return, an eleven-year-old girl got out of a broken down car and walked alone up the hard shoulder of a motorway carrying a baby… and nobody stopped to help them. It has haunted me ever since and I always wondered about the aftermath. Of course, my story becomes fiction beyond that point, but the event informs everything else in the book. 

You’ve previously written other crime novels, what draws you towards that genre? 

At first, nothing. After I wrote my first book Blacklands, I was only frustrated to be labelled as a crime writer, because I had so many other stories I wanted to tell. But then I realised that any genre is just a marketing tool, and largely to be ignored while writing. Now I love pushing crime’s boundaries – and finding them infinitely flexible. 

Favourite Man Booker-winning novel? 

Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha or The Remains of the Day. Don’t make me choose! 

What are you working on next? 

It’s a book about a very boring old man. I do love a challenge… 

Belinda Bauer