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Simon Beckett 'unconcerned by lack of UK fame'

9th February 2010

A bestselling writer has described how it feels to be almost unknown to those outside the crime fiction world in his own country, while enjoying massive mainstream success in Europe.

Writing in the Guardian, The Chemistry of Death author Simon Beckett claimed that he did not know he was one of the top-selling writers on the continent until recently - although he was aware his books were doing well, after being translated into 27 languages.

He also said that he was surprised at his popularity in Germany, where his novels have sold in their millions, and found his personal appearances filled several-hundred-seat venues in Hamburg, Munich and Dusseldorf in a visit last year.

'German journalists often ask if I'm recognised in my home city of Sheffield. Well, no: not that I'd want to be,' Beckett wrote. 'I didn't exactly become a writer to be a celebrity.'

The 49-year-old added that a friend who he had not seen for several years recently asked him if he was still writing and able to make a living from it, seemingly unaware of his fame in crime fiction.

However, while not an instantly recognisable face on these shores, Beckett remains a writer of some stature and his self-deprecating comments belie some notable achievements. Featuring in last year's Sunday Times top ten bestseller list, Beckett boasts six-figure sales for most of his books.

The novelist was also nominated for the Crime Writers' Association's 2009 Dagger in the Library award, which recognises the whole body of an author's work, but was pipped to the post by Colin Cotterill.

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