by Oline H. Cogdill
Walter Mosley has been chosen as the 2016 Grand Master by Mystery Writers of America (MWA).
MWA's Grand Master Award represents the pinnacle of achievement in mystery writing and was established to acknowledge important contributions to this genre, as well as for a body of work that is both significant and of consistent high quality. Mr. Mosley will receive his award at the 70th Annual Edgar Awards Banquet, which will be held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City on Thursday, April 28, 2016.
This is a well-deserved honor as Mosley has proved himself to be a groundbreaker in the genre.
He started writing when he was 34 years old and has to date published more than 40 novels.
Mosley is best known for his Easy Rawlins series, beginning with Devil in a Blue Dress, which was made into a film starring Denzel Washington.This series shows what life was life for an African American in post-WWII Los Angeles.
He has also written three other series, featuring Fearless Jones, Leonid McGill, and Socrates Fortlaw. In addition, he has written science fiction, nonfiction, social criticism, young-adult fiction, plays, graphic novels, and numerous short stories.
Previous Grand Masters include Lois Duncan, James Ellroy, Robert Crais, Carolyn Hart, Ken Follett, Margaret Maron, Martha Grimes, Sara Paretsky, James Lee Burke, Sue Grafton, Bill Pronzini, Stephen King, Marcia Muller, Dick Francis, Mary Higgins Clark, Lawrence Block, P.D. James, Ellery Queen, Daphne du Maurier, Alfred Hitchcock, Graham Greene, and Agatha Christie.
THE RAVEN AWARD
I have to admit that the Raven Award probably is my favorite award. Mainly because—full disclosure—I was honored with this award in 2013. The Raven recognizes outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing.
Two Raven Awards will be awarded in 2016: one to Margaret Kinsman and the other to Sisters in Crime. These are two inspired choices.
As a mentor, teacher, scholar, and editor, Margaret Kinsman has supported and promoted both the mystery genre as a whole and many individual writers. As senior lecturer in popular culture at Southbank University in London from 1991 to 2012, she played a leading role in making crime fiction an important and legitimate field of study. She has worked hard both to expand readership of our genre in the general public and to expand understanding of the genre as a powerful form of social commentary.
From 2004 to 2011, Kinsman served as executive editor of Clues: A Journal of Detection, the only American scholarly journal dedicated to mysteries. She continues to serve Clues as a consulting editor. She is an international authority on Margery Allingham and has published extensively on other American crime writers. She is a U.S. citizen who divides her time between London and Iowa City, Iowa, where she is conducting research in the Nancy Drew archives at the University of Iowa.
Sisters in Crime has its roots at the 1986 Bouchercon in Baltimore. Sara Paretsky convened an initial meeting of women writers who were concerned about both the rising tide of graphic violence against women in mysteries and the lack of equity in review, award nominations, advances, and other measures of a writer’s success.
The following year during Edgars week, a group of women writers met in Sandra Scoppettone's SoHo loft for breakfast and formed Sisters in Crime. Initial steering committee members were a who’s who of women mystery writers, including Charlotte MacLeod, Kate Mattes, Betty Francis, Dorothy Salisbury Davis, Sara Paretsky, Nancy Pickard, and Susan Dunlap.
The mission of Sisters in Crime is to promote the ongoing advancement, recognition and professional development of women crime writers. Membership is open to all persons worldwide who have a special interest in mystery writing and in furthering the purposes of SinC. The organization has approximately 3,600 members in some 50 regional chapters in the United States and Canada.
Previous Raven winners include Kathryn Kennison, Jon and Ruth Jordan, Aunt Agatha’s Bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Oline Cogdill, Molly Weston, The Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego, Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore in Chicago, Once Upon a Crime Bookstore in Minneapolis, Mystery Lovers Bookstore in Oakmont, PA, Kate’s Mystery Books in Cambridge, MA, and The Poe House in Baltimore, MD.
The Ellery Queen Award was established in 1983 to honor “outstanding writing teams and outstanding people in the mystery-publishing industry." This year the Board chose to honor Janet A. Rudolph.
Rudolph is the director of the fan-based Mystery Readers International, editor of the Mystery Readers Journal, a teacher of mystery fiction, and has been a columnist for most of the mystery periodicals. A native of Philadelphia, she now lives in Berkeley, California, where she completed a master's degree in art history, a credential in secondary education, and a PhD in religion and literature specializing in mystery fiction. She has received two Fulbright grants—one to India and another to Brazil.
Mystery Readers Journal, her brainchild, is the official publication of Mystery Readers International. Originally started as a newsletter to update the local mystery community on fun events, it is now one of the most important periodicals in the field. A quarterly, each issue focuses on a specific theme with major articles, author essays, special columns, and a calendar of events. Members of MRI award the coveted Macavity for excellence in mystery writing.
Again, Rudolph is an inspired choice. I met her at my first Bouchercon back in 1997 and consider her a friend.
Previous Ellery Queen Award winners include Charles Ardai, Joe Meyers, Barbara Peters and Robert Rosenwald, Mystery Scene publishers Kate Stine and Brian Skupin, Carolyn Marino, Ed Gorman, Janet Hutchings, Cathleen Jordan, Douglas G. Greene, Susanne Kirk, Sara Ann Freed, Hiroshi Hayakawa, Jacques Barzun, Martin Greenburg, Otto Penzler, Richard Levinson, William Link, Ruth Cavin, and Emma Lathen.
For more information on Mystery Writers of America, please visit www.mysterywriters.org.