A gala evening featuring many famous crime writers. I am there. When chatting to some of my heroes I say self-deprecatingly ‘No, no: I don’t write crime fiction. I’m just a blogger and a fan.’ And then I remember and add ‘Oh but I am actually a nominee at the awards tonight.’
And, yes, there I was.
King of the crime experts Curtis Evans, proprietor of the Passing Tramp website, put together the book Murder in the Closet a year or so ago, featuring essays on gay themes in pre-Stonewall crime fiction. I contributed a piece on one of my favourite crime books, Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey. Earlier this year the book was nominated for an Edgar award - these are organized by the Mystery Writers of America, and I am just crassly going to tell any of you who don’t know that they are highly prestigious, like a cross between the Oscars and the Booker Prize for crime books. We were nominated in the Best Critical/Biographical category.
This was a particularly well-deserved shoutout for Curt, who works tirelessly to raise the profile of detective fiction, rediscovers lost masterpieces, writes articles, and essays, and introductions to re-issues. When he mentioned an award ceremony and banquet in New York, I realized that I
And it was the best decision ever: going to the Edgars is going to be the highlight of my 2018…
Only a handful of the contributors were able to make it, but I feel we represented all of them, and it was a particular joy for me to spend the evening with two people whom I know well online but had never met IRL: Curt, and John Norris of Pretty Sinister Books. (I was surprised to find John looked nothing like his avatar, but then I don’t look like mine either…)
John, Curt, me, and our book
The room was filled with wonderful writers and legendary crime fiction figures, and I shamelessly managed to at least speak to many of them (‘Hello. Love your books.’ ‘Thanks!’). I even got invited to an important after-awards party – I didn’t GO, but it was nice to be asked. Everyone was very friendly, and the atmosphere was a delight – friendly and non-competitive and encouraging, despite the nature of an awards ceremony.
We didn’t win our category: the award went to a biography of ground-breaking crime author Chester B Himes, which I’m sure deserved it: it didn’t feel like losing, and made no difference to the delights of the evening. And again I would like to stress how splendid it was that Curt got some of the recognition he deserves.
Edgar Allan Poe rendered in chocolate
Among the attendees: Peter Lovesey, William Link (who invented both Columbo and Jessica Fletcher), Otto Penzler, Michael Connolly, Mary Higgins, Jeffrey Deaver, Attica Locke, (who won the overall best crime novel), Charles Todd.
I would have liked to meet Lawrence Block, whose books I love, but couldn’t quite bring myself to approach him.
****ADDED LATER: and Lawrence Block himself came visiting to this blogpost, and commented, see below... ****
After the Edgars he tweeted this:
Well, he is just blasé (he has won A LOT of Edgars), for me it could’ve gone on all night…. I was lucky enough to see My Fair Lady the next night, and I totally saw Eliza Doolittle’s point: I could've danced all night. (Metaphorically of course, crime writers not up for dancing very much.)Lawrence Block @LawrenceBlock 2 hours agoA fine time at MWA’s Edgars dinner. But one recalls Samuel Johnson’s observation on Milton’s Paradise Lost: “No one ever wished it longer.”
And now we all just need to write more books and get nominated so we get to go again.
Oh, it all sounds fantastic, Moira! I'm so glad you had such a memorable time. And congratulations on the nomination - that's wonderful! And isn't a real pleasure to meet in person people you've become friends with online? I know it has been for me when that's happened. Thanks for sharing all of this with us.ReplyDelete
Thanks Margot, it was such fun: and yes, such a treat to meet people I feel I already know well.Delete
Fan flippin tastic! Best blog of 2018, too - I feel as if I was there now. Edgar nominee, cor!ReplyDelete
Thank you! the good feelings are going to last me all year I think...Delete
Great account and congratulations, Moira! How funny - I wasn't very far away (in US terms), just down the road in Washington DC where I also was at an awards evening a few days later, this one for the Agathas (though not as a nominee, sadly)! Some stalwarts had come on from the Edgars.ReplyDelete
Oh isn't that funny, you must tell me more about it. I am full of admiration for anyone who could manage two awards evenings back to back!Delete
Glad you had such a lovely time. Edgars night is a truly memorable occasion, and its scale is perhaps not fully recognised in Britain. And I can recommend the Daggers Dinner as well!ReplyDelete
Thanks Martin, and exactly, the scale was astonishing. And who knows, now I have been to one I might make a habit of it...Delete
I loved it when I introduced you and if they didn't know "Moira" they knew "Clothes in Books." Joe Goodrich was like, "Oh, I love that blog!" So much fun getting to meet you in person, and all for a good cause too (the book!).ReplyDelete
Thanks Curt, and yes indeed, that was funny. What a great and memorable evening...Delete
How cool. It would be amazing to be in a room with so many writers I admire, although a bit overwhelming for me. I can tell you had a wonderful time.ReplyDelete
Thanks Tracy, and everyone was so nice, and the atmosphere so friendly, so it wasn't too overwhelming. Though so strange to be in the same room as all those people.Delete
Sounds like a fun evening, though I don't think I could relax at such an event. Don't they say - never meet your heroes?ReplyDelete
I know, Col, but in this case they were all terrific, so nice. I just wish I had pushed my way to meet Lawrence Block, then I know you'd be really impressed!Delete
Well, what were you waiting for?Delete
Incidentally, Dr. Johnson greatly admired Milton and Paradise Lost. Yet his observation would seem to be heartfelt—and shared, I suspect, by anyone who made it through the work.
I will definitely say hello next time, if only because my friend Col's Criminal Library will be so jealous. And thank you for thoughts on Paradise Lost...Delete
Moira: Congratulations on being a nominee. It sounds like an amazing evening. You look great - a role as a femme fatale awaits. My only disappointment is that there is not a clothes description to be found in your post of the evening.ReplyDelete
Thank you! I should really have done more clothes description, you are right, but my head was in the clouds...Delete
Greatest comment section ever?ReplyDelete
Aside from everything else, you look gorgeous!ReplyDelete
Thank you thank you!Delete
What fun, and yes, you look gorgeous.ReplyDelete
It was, and thank you thank you to you too!Delete
Oh, nice you were nominated. I'm in the middle of a Chester Himes classic, "Cotton Comes to Harlem," and I can see why a biography of him won. He was an unsung, but terrific writer.ReplyDelete
And I'm thrilled Attica Locke won. Her book "Bluebird, Bluebird," is just a fantastic read, so well-written, great characters.
Oh, and by the way, missed seeing you in New York.
Yes, I am glad he is getting the recognition he deserves. And yes to Attica Locke too.Delete
And I will just have to come to another Edgar awards in New York and come and visit you...
Oh what a great event and trip that sounds like. Well done that you A) got nominated and B) got yourself across the Atlantic to enjoy every moment of it.ReplyDelete
Thank you. It was amazing, and I am SO GLAD I took the decision to go!Delete