Thursday, April 28, 2011

Happy 65th Birthday, Edgar. May You Never Retire!

Writers are not starving artists! At least not at the Edgars.
Invariably held in New York City, Edgars week is celebrating its 65th anniversary this year. Which means that the city is once again swarmed by the evil-minded, conspiring, and plotting criminal masterminds. It is amazing the NYPD does not flood the streets with extra police.
The traditional schedule includes the Thursday MWA-sponsored award dinner where the Edgars winners are announced, preceded by a full-day Wednesday symposium and an Agents and Editors cocktail party. I’ve only been to the Edgars banquet once, but I never miss the Agents and Editors schmoozing.  It is the only time in the year when a scribe can get drunk next to an agent who is not even his.

Crime writers hug too. Rosemary Harris and Jane Clealand do.

The Wednesday symposium can be helpful for those still writing their breakout novel.  This year, several Edgar 2011 nominees held the panel titled Getting Here From There. Later in the afternoon, Edgar winner Lisa Scottolone shared some insights during her How to Write a Novel talk. Yet, the party always remained my favorite Edgars perk. Where else can you find Mary Higgins Clark, Sara Paretsky, S.J. Rozan, and Reed Farrel Coleman all in the same room at the same time? Only in New York. And only at the Edgars.
Strangely enough, I didn’t see the usual agent bunch – neither Barbara Poelle nor Janet Reid came to the party tonight. I missed them both. Donna Bagdasarian stopped by briefly and left. Hopefully it had nothing to do with Edgar’s retirement age, we all need agents to stay in business so they can sell our books!
More hugs: moi, Reed Farrel Coleman and Cathi Stoler
It was a pleasure to talk to Janet Hutchings, the editor of Ellery Queen who remembered me and my story, The Marsh Island, which is coming out in a few months!  I didn’t have a chance to chat with Linda Landrigan from Alfred Hitchcock, but I am hoping to do so tomorrow at the reception that Dell magazine hosts for its writers (Dell owns AHMM and EQMM). This will be my first one (since it was the first story ever accepted by EQMM) so I’m thrilled. But, I am not sure Edgar nominees share my excitement tonight.
Ironically, the masters of literary tension go through major suspense from the moment the nominees are announced earlier in the year until the winners are announced at the banquet. The committee chooses winners right after the nominees are selected, yet the victims of their own craft have to await their fate for nearly two months. No, life doesn’t get easier for published writers. Perhaps it gets more gripping like a good thriller should be.
A writer is only as good as his or her books. For a mystery writer, she is only as good as her crime. So let’s make a toast to that–may we all conjure up the scariest villains, equip them with ultimate alibis, and pair them up with irresistible protagonists our readers will fall in love with at first sight. Or rather the first paragraph.
And may we all win the Edgar.

Moi, Hilary Davidson and Kathleen Ryan


  1. Cheers to that, and sounds like fun in spite of the lower-than-usual attendance. Thanks for filling us in on what we missed! Maybe next year?

  2. Nice write-up, Lina! Can't wait to read THE MARSH ISLAND! Hope you're having a great time at the DELL party!

  3. Isn't it true that writers never retire, they only expire? And considering that people are still reading Edgar's stories, I'd say he isn't going to retire (or expire) any time soon. :)