Denise Mina was born in the new town of East Kilbride, just outside Glasgow. Her father was an engineer who rode the boom time in North Sea Oil exploration. The family moved twenty-one times in eighteen years to areas all round Europe, including London, Paris and The Hague.
Mina left school at sixteen and worked in a variety of low-paid jobs that included: meat factory worker, barmaid, kitchen porter and cook. She eventually settled in auxiliary nursing for geriatric and terminal care patients.
At twenty-one she passed exams and entered Glasgow University, where she studied Law. Following this she took on research for a PhD thesis in ‘The Ascription of Mental Illness to Female Offenders’, at Strathclyde University. She then taught Criminology and Criminal Law part-time.
Instead of studying, she wrote what would be her first novel, Garnethill – obviously not time wasted. Garnethill, which was published in 1998, won the Crime Writer’s Association John Creasy Dagger for the Best First Crime Novel in that year.
Mina writes in what is popularly known as the Tartan Noir style and her writing includes work on the comic, Hellblazer: Empathy is the Enemy, which is to be published as a graphic novel by Vertigo. She has also written her own graphic novel, A Sickness in the Family, about spree killing and property prices, to be published by DC Comics.
She also writes short stories for collections and stories for BBC Radio 4. She wrote her first play, ‘Ida Tamson’, which was performed at Oran Mor as part of the ‘A Play, a Pie and a Pint’ series, starring Elaine C. Smith.
To Mina’s great surprise, enquiries were made by none other than Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston’s production company, who were interested in optioning the film rights to her fourth novel, Sanctum. At the time, however, the rights were held by the BBC.
Her novels have been translated into over thirty languages. Her most recent novel is Gods and Beasts.