Oline H. Cogdill

It should come as no surprise to mystery readers that Sisters in Crime would be the first to launch an award geared toward LGBTQIA+ writers.

The organization has always been at the forefront in supporting diversity in publishing. Sisters in Crime’s highly respected Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award has helped launch the careers of several deserving authors since the award has been given annually since 2014.

Registration is now open for its inaugural Pride Award for Emerging LGBTQIA+ Crime Writers.

A $2,000 grant will be awarded to an up-and-coming writer who identifies as part of the LGBTQIA+ community. I would also hope that publishers would pay attention to the winners of this award.

Candidates must apply by March 15, 2021.

The winner will be announced in April, 2021.

The award is being established as the legacy project of former Sisters in Crime president Sherry Harris.

“Sisters in Crime was founded more than 30 years ago as an advocacy group for women crime writers. When considering my legacy project, I knew I wanted to establish a way for us to build on our traditions of expanding inclusiveness in crime fiction publishing and helping to lift up voices that need to be heard,” explained Harris in a press release.
The grant, funded for 2021 by an anonymous donor, is intended for a crime writer beginning their career and will support activities related to career development including workshops, seminars, conferences, retreats, online courses, and research activities required for completion of his, her, or their work.

The winner and five runners-up will also be awarded a one-year Sisters in Crime membership and each will receive a critique from an established Sisters in Crime member.
The judges for the inaugural Pride award are Sisters in Crimes members John Copenhaver, Cheryl Head, and Kristen Lepionka, who have all written award-winning LGBTQIA+ crime fiction.

 “We are thrilled to have this exceptional group of authors to judge our first-ever contest,” said Grants and Award Liaison V.M. (Valerie) Burns in the same press release. “We see this as an opportunity to inspire the future of crime fiction by connecting emerging LGBTQIA+ writers with influential authors of today.”
Copenhaver added: “Representation for queer authors is key within the mystery writing community. Not too many years ago, gay and lesbian mysteries weren’t even shelved in the mystery section of chain bookstores, but in the ‘Gay and Lesbian section,’ usually at the back of the store. The award offers individual support for new voices in queer mystery and is a symbolic gesture, reminding the broader reading and writing community of the validity of our perspective and our ability to tell great crime stories.”
Sisters in Crime recognizes that not all LGBTQIA+ community members can be out, and each individual’s privacy is valued. Winners and any runners-up who wish to maintain their anonymity may do so, or they may choose to select a pen name for announcement.
Sisters in Crime (SinC) was founded in 1986 to promote the ongoing advancement, recognition and professional development of women crime writers. Today, the organization boasts 4,200 members and more than 60 chapters worldwide

In addition to the annual Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award. Sisters in Crime also offers other scholarships; grants for academic research into the roles of women and underserved voices in crime fiction; cash awards to libraries and bookstores; and surveys and monitoring projects which determine visibility and representation of women and diverse voices in the genre and across the marketplace.
Complete guidelines and the application can be found at https://www.sistersincrime.org/page/Pride