Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Making Masters of Smith and Fairstein

Authors Martin Cruz Smith and Linda Fairstein (shown above) have been selected by the Mystery Writers of America as the winners of its 2018 Grand Master Awards. To quote from an MWA news release:
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. Fairstein and Mr. Smith will receive their awards at the 73rd Annual Edgar Awards Banquet, which will be held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City on April 25, 2019.”
Previous Grand Masters include William Link, Peter Lovesey, Jane Langton, Max Allan Collins, Ellen Hart, Walter Mosley, James Ellroy, Robert Crais, Carolyn Hart, Ken Follett, Margaret Maron, Martha Grimes, Bill Pronzini, Sara Paretsky, and James Lee Burke.

At the same time, the MWA has announced that veteran New York Times mystery-fiction columnist Marilyn Stasio will be the recipient of this year’s Raven Award (honoring “outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing”). And Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine editor Linda Landrigan is to be given the 2018 Ellery Queen Award, which recognizes “outstanding writing teams and outstanding people in the mystery-publishing industry.”

Congratulations to all of these prize winners.

UPDATE: The MWA seems to have stirred up more than a bit of controversy with its decision to name prosecutor-turned-novelist Linda Fairstein as one of this year’s Grand Masters. Author Attica Locke (Bluebird, Bluebird) wrote this morning on Twitter:
As a member and 2018 Edgar winner, I am begging you to reconsider having Linda Fairstein serve as a Grand Master in next year’s awards ceremony. She is almost single-handedly responsible for the wrongful incarceration of the Central Park Five. … For which she has never apologized or recanted her insistence on their guilt for the most heinous of crimes, ‘guilt’ based solely on evidence procured through violence and ill treatment of children in lock up.”
Locke is referring here to a case brought by Fairstein, in her then-role as head of the sex crimes unit of the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, against five teenage boys—four African Americans and one Hispanic—who allegedly attacked a white female jogger in Central Park on the night of April 19, 1989. Charges were leveled against Fairstein that she and police detectives had intimidated the arrested teens into making false confessions. In 1990, all of the Central Park Five, as they became known, were convicted on charges of assault and sexual battery; but those convictions were vacated in 2002 after another man, “convicted serial rapist and murderer Matias Reyes,” confessed to having attacked the woman instead.

This afternoon, the MWA put out the following message: “We are taking seriously the issues raised by Attica Locke. Our Board is going to discuss these concerns as soon as possible and make a further statement soon.” Stay tuned for more on this matter.

READ MORE:Writer Linda Fairstein’s Past as a Prosecutor Overseeing the Central Park Five Case Causes Award Controversy,” by Steph Cha (Los Angeles Times).


michael said...

Linda Fairstein has responded on Twitter for those who are curious. At the moment I see Fairstein the writer worthy of the writer's award.

Anonymous said...

The award is based on writing. Are past winners awards going to be reviewed based on other situations? What about those writing under pseudo names turning out pornography or sex biased work - now being reviewed in today's light.