Jane Langton, William Link, and Peter Lovesey have been chosen as the 2018 Grand Masters 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. Ms. Langton, Mr. Link, and Mr. Lovesey will receive their awards at the 72nd Annual Edgar Awards Banquet, which will be held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City on April 26, 2018.
In a writing career that spanned over four decades, Jane Langton has not only written multiple mystery series, but also illustrated them. Her first children’s book, The Majesty of Grace, was published by Harper in 1961. The first book of her Hall Family Chronicles series, The Diamond in the Window, was nominated for the Edgar for Best Juvenile. The Fledgling, fourth in the series, is a Newbery Honor Book. Langton has written 18 books in the Homer (and Mary) Kelly series, published between 1964 and 2005. The fifth in the series, Emily Dickinson Is Dead, was an Edgar nominee and received a Nero Wolfe award.
When told of being named a Grand Master, Langton said, “Oh, what an honor! I am so very delighted.”
William Link’s love of writing began with the cartoons he drew as a very young boy. When he learned to write, he immediately created stories for them. The first day of middle school, he would meet a classmate, Richard Levinson. They went home and started writing together that afternoon. The partnership of these two creative minds would change television history and the format of the crime drama forever with shows like Columbo, Ellery Queen, Mannix, And Murder She Wrote to name a few. They even wrote a Broadway musical, Merlin. After the death of his best friend and writing partner he continued on alone. Bill has received numerous awards for excellence including 2 Emmys, 2 Golden Globes, 4 Edgar Awards, The Ellery Queen, The Marlowe, The Poirot, the George Foster Peabody, and The Paddy Chayefsky Laurel award. He was inducted into The Television Academy Hall of Fame.
Even with all these accomplishments, when the call came in with the news that he is to be named Grand Master for 2018 he said, “I was stunned and moved to tears. In the words of Lt. Columbo, ‘Just one more thing…’ This is the highest honor I could possibly receive and I couldn’t be more proud of the recognition. I am humbled and thrilled to be included in the company of so many of my favorite authors.”
Peter (Harmer) Lovesey, also known by his pen name Peter Lear, is a British writer of historical and contemporary detective novels and short stories. His best-known series characters are Sergeant Cribb, a Victorian-era police detective based in London, and Peter Diamond, a modern-day police detective in Bath. Peter Lovesey has won awards for his fiction, including Gold and Silver Daggers from the British Crime Writers’ Association, the Cartier Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement, the French Grand Prix de Littérature Policière and first place in the MWA’s 50th Anniversary Short Story Contest. When told that he was named a Grand Master, Lovesey said, “’Right now I’m sitting on cloud nine hoping this is true. Thank you, MWA, for giving me the biggest lift of my life. I’m touched, dazed and humbled by the company you’re inviting me to join.”
Previous Grand Masters include Max Allan Collins, Ellen Hart, Walter Mosley, 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 recognises outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing. The Raven Bookstore and Kristopher Zgorski will receive the 2018 Raven Award.
The Raven Bookstore in Lawrence, Kansas, celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2017. The store was opened in 1987 by co-owners Pat Kehde and Mary Lou Wright. Kehde kept the store for 28 years, weathering the Borders storm with a plan to “stay the same size and cultivate [the] clients.” Heidi Raak took over the store in 2008. Current owner and poet Danny Caine took over in August of 2017; he is a longtime employee of the shop. The Raven has two store cats, Dashiell and Ngiao. Upon hearing of the Raven Award, Raven Bookstore owner Danny Caine said, “I’m humbled and amazed to receive a Raven Award. Along with the Raven’s staff, past and present, I’m delighted to join the company of such great bookstores, organizations, and people that have won the Raven in years past. Much credit belongs to previous Raven owners Pat Kehde, Mary Lou Wright, and Heidi Raak who did so much to build the store’s mystery community. Thanks so much to the MWA for the award, which, aside from being a huge honor, has a pretty great name.”
When told that he would receive the Raven Award, Zgorski said, “The crime fiction tribe represents my chosen family, so to receive this honor from an esteemed organization like Mystery Writers of America feels as much like encouragement from those closest to my heart as it does acknowledgement from the publishing industry at large. I appreciate MWA’s celebration of myself – and BOLO Books – not only on a personal level, but also as a vote of confidence for the contributions of book bloggers everywhere.” Kristopher Zgorski is the founder of the crime fiction book review blog, BOLO Books (http://www.bolobooks.com). Kristopher also has a column called Central Booking in Deadly Pleasures Magazine. His reviews have also run in genre-specific publications such as Crimespree Magazine, Mystery Readers Journal, and the UK-based Shots Crime andThriller Ezine. Kristopher is obviously an avid reader and regularly attends industry conventions such as Bouchercon, Malice Domestic, and BEA, in addition to smaller MD/DC/VA area book gatherings and signings.
Previous Raven winners include Dru Ann Love, Sisters in Crime, Margaret Kinsman, 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 Robert Pépin. Mr. Pépin began his literary career in 1964 as a translator of English-language novels. Since then he has been a translator, editor, and publisher of some of the most important authors of the past century including Lawrence Block, Alex Berenson, C.J. Box, Lee Child, Michael Connelly, James Church, Miles Corwin, Martin Cruz Smith, and Robert Crais.
In 1992, Pépin founded Le Seuil publishing company, which successfully introduced the finest American crime writers to the French public. In 2010, he established his own imprint, the eponymous “Robert Pépin présente…”at the venerable French publishing house Calmann-Levy Paris, a division of Hachette. There, he continues to bring great English language writers to France. On learning he would receive the Ellery Queen Award, Pépin said, “I still can’t believe I won The Ellery Queen Award, but as it seems to be true, I want to thank all of you, my MWA friends, for conferring such an honor on me. It is indeed very generous of you. Publishing and translating American writers into French has always been a great pleasure for me. Go on writing, my friends!”
Previous Ellery Queen Award winners include Neil Nyren, Janet Rudolph, Charles Ardai, Joe Meyers, Barbara Peters and Robert Rosenwald, Brian Skupin and Kate Stine, 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.
The Edgar Awards, or “Edgars,” as they are commonly known, are named after MWA’s patron saint Edgar Allan Poe and are presented to authors of distinguished work in various categories. MWA is the premier organization for mystery writers, professionals allied to the crime-writing field, aspiring crime writers, and those who are devoted to the genre. The organization encompasses some 3,000 members including authors of fiction and non-fiction books, screen and television writers, as well as publishers, editors, and literary agents. For more information on Mystery Writers of America, please visit the website: www.mysterywriters.org