The Edgar Awards 2011

Continuing the chronic lag afflicting my updates lately, here’s a little about the Edgar Allan Poe Awards I attended in New York at the end of April (hence the lag). Dust City was up for the Edgar award for best young adult mystery. Sadly, however, my book didn’t nab the prize, but it was surely an honour to be there. The winner in my category was The Interrogation of Gabriel James by Charlie Price, and I’ll be honest: it’s a great book. The guy deserved it. Plus, he didn’t start writing until he was 60, so I have a few years to catch up. Congrats, Charlie, and thanks for writing a winner—in every sense of the word.

I also had the opportunity to meet Jim Krieg, a screenwriter who waded into the children’s book world with Griff Carver, Hallway Patrol, a hilarious 70s/80s cop show take on elementary school, also from Penguin Young Readers. It was nominated in the children’s mystery category.

Sarah Paretsky addressing the crowd

Something else I can tell you about the event: When you’re all dolled up in a big ballroom on 42nd Street and they read out the names of the nominees in your category, it’s kinda nerve-wracking. You start to wonder if you should have thought of something to say in front of all these people, just in case you win. The short answer is, yes, you should have at least given it some thought (I hadn’t, of course). As they read out the names, I had to wrack my brains for something pithy to say. Just in case. At least, I’ll know for next time. Fingers crossed.

The winner of the grandmaster award was Sarah Paretsky, creator of the private detective, V.I. Washawski (whom Kathleen Turner portrayed in a film I remember from years ago). Paretsky gave a memorable and rousing speech on the pleasure and importance of writing fiction, with a couple kernels of pithiness from Sappho and Herman Melville. In case you’re interested, here’s her full speech, which starts a little after the 5 minute mark. If you’re looking for a little writerly inspiration, it’s worth hearing:


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