I’m not sure I will be able to say much that is coherent today. Except that my adult mystery manuscript made the shortlist for the “Unhanged Arthur” award. In my world, this is a very big deal.
I went to Calgary to attend the shortlist event there, and it was a thrill. Calgary has a beautiful library (with an amazing discarded book sale in the basement – everything is 50 cents!) There was a small but enthusiastic crowd, and some great local writers – including Garry Ryan and Linda Kupecek and John Brix-Maffei (a.k.a. John Smith) - on hand. And they adopted me as a “local-ish” writer for the night. Everyone read from their books and as always when I hear authors read, I was amazed at the differences between how and what people write. And how exciting it is to hear an author read their own words aloud.
Lots of people have been asking me – what is this award thing anyway? So, I’ll just take a minute to reassure you that it is some contest that I found on a cereal box top. The Arthur Ellis Awards are sponsored by The Crime Writers of Canada and recognize excellence in Canadian crime writing. There are 7 categories in all – 6 of which are for books published in the past year. The “Unhanged Arthur” is for the best unpublished first crime novel in Canada. You can find the complete shortlist here.
What next? Well, I get to go to the award banquet, which is in Toronto on May 27. I promise not to wear fleece or Birks. And since I’ll be there, I’ll stay for the CWC mystery writing conference Bloody Words. There are 5 names on the “Unhanged Arthur” shortlist, and who knows who might win. But to me it’s certainly not about winning at this point. To have made it this far, after all the doubts and questions that I had about writing this manuscript, is victory enough. I feel like I’ve won already.