Friday, January 18, 2008

W Is for Winner

Mike Stotter of Shotsmag Confidential was first out with this news, it seems. Living several time zones behind London, I’m only catching up with it now: American private-eye novelist Sue Grafton, creator of the Kinsey Millhone series, has been chosen to receive the 2008 Cartier Diamond Dagger Award. This commendation is presented annually by the British Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) to authors whose careers have been “marked by sustained excellence,” and who have “made a significant contribution to crime fiction published in the English language, whether originally or in translation.” Grafton follows Brit John Harvey as a recipient of this coveted prize.

In its press release announcing Grafton’s win, the CWA notes:
Sue Grafton was born in Kentucky in 1940, the daughter of mystery writer C.W. Grafton. After receiving a bachelors degree in English Literature from the University of Louisville, she worked as a TV scriptwriter before her Kinsey Millhone alphabet series of P.I. mystery novels found success. The first in the series, A Is for Alibi [1982] was famously inspired by her own divorce. “For months I lay in bed and plotted to kill my ex-husband, but I knew I’d bungle it and get caught so I wrote it in a book instead.”

Three of Ms. Grafton’s novels have won the Anthony Award at the annual Bouchercon World Mystery Convention; she has won three Shamus Awards, and in 2004 received the Ross Macdonald Literary Award given to a California writer whose work raises the standard of literary excellence.

All the books in the Kinsey Millhone series are set in the fictional Santa Teresa, [California], which Ross Macdonald used as an alternative name for Santa Barbara in his novels. Ms. Grafton plans to carry the series all the way through to Z. The latest number one best-seller, T Is for Trespass, was published in the U.S. in December 2007 and will be out in Macmillan hardback in the UK in April 2008. Ms. Grafton’s novels are published in 28 countries and in 26 languages, including Bulgarian and Indonesian, although she has consistently refused to sell the film and television rights, claiming her experience as a screenwriter “cured” her of the desire to work with Hollywood.
Grafton is the 23rd recipient of the Diamond Dagger. In addition to the aforementioned Harvey, other previous winners have included Peter Lovesey, Sara Paretsky, Robert Barnard, Lawrence Block, Elmore Leonard, and Ed McBain.

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