Wednesday, February 07, 2024

Bouchercon Discord Hits Social Media

Organizers of this year’s Bouchercon conference in Nashville, Tennessee (August 28-September 1), seem to have courted controversy by inviting longtime New York City bookseller, critic, and publisher Otto Penzler to interview Lifetime Achievement guest of honor Anthony Horowitz on stage. Author Lee Goldberg opines on Facebook:
I do not understand why Otto Penzler is still treated like some kind of royalty. He is the Rudy Guiliani of crime fiction. He did some admirable things a long, long time ago … and is a disgrace now. Why would the conference want to align itself with Otto and his *decades* of well-documented misogyny (with a dollop of racism on top).

Yes, I understand that Horowitz supposedly asked for Otto to be his interviewer because they edited [2024’s] edition of
Best Mystery Stories [of the Year] together … but Bouchercon should have had the sensitivity and the spine to say, sorry, Tony, he’s not welcome on our stage so, with all due respect, please pick someone else or we will pick someone for you. Someone who hasn’t shit on women writers for years (and yet championed giving the MWA Grandmaster award to a woman who sent five innocent men to prison for a rape). Someone who didn’t create a women’s fiction imprint … and then hire men to write the books under women’s names.

Surely there is someone out there in the mystery community capable of interviewing Horowitz who doesn't have that kind of loathsome baggage. How about Steph Cha, if she’s attending? That would be poetic justice.
This dispute has generated plenty of social media posts, but still no official response from Bouchercon—at least none I’ve spotted.


Kathy D. said...

Excellent response to Bouchercon leaadership's mistake. I always
thought of Penzler as a misogynist, never promoted women writers
or books by them, assembled collections without women writers, etc.
I hope the pressure results in a change.

Peter Handel said...

I also think he is an ass. Many years ago I innocently asked him a question about Mystery Scene when he was editor and he was one rude POS. Loathsome. But you know what? Guys like him are so entrenched in their shittiness, they couldn't care less.

Peter Handel said...

I meant Armchair Detective, not Mystery Scene!

Anonymous said...

The only reason I'm considering trekking down to this year's Bouchercon is to meet Otto Penzler. I consider him to be a legend in the bookselling, publishing & collecting industry. The claims that he doesn't promote female authors is asinine, and the holier than thou 'cancel culture' who are calling for his removal from this year's event can go cry elsewhere.