Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ain’t It Grand

Sixty-four-year-old Bill Pronzini, author of the long-lasting “Nameless Detective” series, has been chosen by the Mystery Writers of America (MWA) to receive its 2008 Grand Master Award. He most closely follows Stephen King, last year’s Grand Master, and Stuart M. Kaminsky, who was so honored in 2006.

Pronzini, a Northern California resident, will be given his commendation during the 62nd annual Edgar Allan Poe Awards banquet, to be held on May 1, 2008, in New York City.

Word of this honor came in a news release from the MWA:
“Bill Pronzini is not only a passionate author and reader of crime fiction--he is also one of the most ardent proponents of the genre,” said Daniel J. Hale, Executive Vice President of Mystery Writers of America. “For forty years he has distinguished himself with consistently high-quality writing and editing in all areas of the field, including creating one of the longest lasting detective series ever.”

Bill Pronzini started down his path toward the Grand Master in 1969, when he embarked upon his professional writing career. Since then, Pronzini has experienced a prolific career, penning more than 70 novels and non-fiction books, including 32 novels in his popular “Nameless Detective” series and three novels written in collaboration with his wife Marcia Muller (MWA’s 2005 Grand Master).

Pronzini is no stranger to critical acclaim for his achievements. He is a six-time Edgar nominee, including a nomination in 1987 with his wife Marcia Muller for Best Critical Biographical Work, “1001 Midnights: The Aficionado’s Guide to Mystery Fiction.” He is also a recipient of three Shamus awards and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Private Eye Writers of America. Pronzini’s suspense novel, Snowbound, was the recipient of the Grand Prix de la Litterature Policière as the best crime novel published in France in 1988.
What some might consider ironic about all of this praise, is that while the MWA applauds Pronzini’s longevity and prolificness, it must also live with the rather uncomfortable fact that he has been nominated for the Edgar Award six times, but has yet to actually win that coveted prize. However, Pronzini has walked away with a trio of Shamus Awards, as well as the Private Eye Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award (“The Eye”) back in 1987.

Pronzini’s latest book, which (unless my math is completely off) is the 31st novel-length entry in his Nameless series, is Savages. It was released earlier this year by Forge Books.

A full list of MWA Grand Masters can be found here.

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