Stephen Booth

Author of the Cooper and Fry crime series

Graduated in 1973

Writing his first book at the tender age of 12, Stephen Booth has gone on to fulfil a lifelong ambition as a novelist. The BA (Hons) General Arts graduate enjoyed a 25-year career as a journalist before creating a series of books featuring one of the most enduring detective duos of recent years - crimefighters Cooper and Fry. All of the stories are set in England's beautiful Peak District with the location playing a significant role in Stephen's stories, to the extent that the Peak District National Park Authority now produces a guide to locations featured in the books. And Birmingham City University also features - main character DS Fry studied Criminology and Policing at UCE (now Birmingham City University) in the 1990s.

After leaving Birmingham Polytechnic (now Birmingham City University) in 1973, Stephen originally went into teaching but really wanted to pursue writing and eventually secured a job as a reporter on a newspaper in Wilmslow, Cheshire.

In 1999 he won the Lichfield Prize for his unpublished novel 'The Only Dead Thing' and secured a two-book contract with HarperCollins, which led to the release of the first of 13 books featuring DC Ben Cooper and DS Diane Fry, Black Dog. Since then he has enjoyed wide recognition, including two Barry Awards in the USA and the Crime Writers Association's Dagger in the Library Award.

Stephen has also used his role as a recognised author to support causes that are important to him, becoming a Library Champion in support of the UK's 'Love Libraries' campaign and a Reading Champion for the National Year of Reading.

He explained: "As an author, libraries are a great way of reaching a new audience. Unfortunately a lot of our libraries are really struggling financially, even though there are still many kids out there who wouldn't get access to books in any other way, so they need all the help they can get."