Congrats to Pinckley Prize winners Nevada Barr and Adrianne Harun!

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One of the best days of my writing life occurred a year ago, when my first novel, Montana, won the Pinckley Prize for crime fiction. The prize is awarded to a woman crime writer in two categories – for a body of work, and a debut novel. Last year, Laura Lippman won the former, and I still can’t believe I shared a stage with someone whose work I’ve admired for so long.

This year, the prize honors Nevada Barr, whose novels about crimes in national parks have kept me awake well into the night, and Adrianne Harun, of whose work I have the same expectation.

Her novel, A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain (Penguin Books), focuses on a subject close to my heart. Of it, the prize committee wrote:

“This story captured our attention with its poetic language. The novel is a genre-expanding meditation on the nature of evil and how this force manifests in the world. Harun based her fictional story on the real-life unsolved mystery of the aboriginal women who have been murdered or remain lost along the infamous ‘Highway of Tears’ in northern British Columbia. The factual grounding adds a chilling resonance to her seductive and beautiful writing.”

I’m so happy that Harun will share what I’ve come to think of as the Pinckley karma. At last year’s Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival, where the prizes are awarded, I reconnected with former newspaper colleagues Stephanie Grace and Ellen Sweets. And, I made new friends among the members of the Women’s National Book Association of New Orleans, which awards the prize that honors the Diana Pinckley, who reviewed mystery novels for the Times-Picayune.

Montana went on to win a High Plains Book Award, and its protagonist, Lola Wicks, will continue her adventures in a series of novels published by Midnight Ink Books. I credit both developments to the Pinckley karma.

Most of all, I want to once again thank the Pinckley Prizes organization for focusing on work by women, and especially on debut authors. It is such wonderful validation at the beginning of one’s writing career. Congrats, Adrianne, and enjoy.


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