MWA’s 2015 Edgar Symposium Preview

????????????????????????????????Mystery Writers of America is a premier organization for mystery and crime writers, professionals allied to the crime writing field, aspiring crime writers, and folks who just love to read crime fiction.

Annually, MWA hosts the Edgar Symposium. This year it will be held on Tuesday, April 28, 2015, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel at East 42nd Street @ Grand Central Station. The Edgar Awards Banquet follows the evening of the next day.

For those interested in the symposium and what it might have to offer, below is the tentative schedule put out by MWA (subject to change) and a description of each scheduled event, following the 8 a.m. registration and the five-minute welcome by MWA’s Executive Vice President, Donna Andrews.

9:00 -10:00: Crossing Genres

The lines between genres are becoming increasingly blurred. The days when an author was expected to stick to a single shelf in the bookstores are long past – now the marketing is all about how many different tags your book page can have online. But is this really something new? Listen as the panelists discuss their own work, the different styles they write in, and the importance of diversifying their work.


  • GREG HERREN, MWA National Board Member; Education Committee Chair


  • John Floyd (2015 Best Short Story Nominee – “200 Feet”, Strand Magazine)
  • William Lashner (2015 Best PBO Nominee – The Barkeep, Thomas & Mercer)
  • Kate Milford (2015 Best Juvenile Nominee – Greenglass House, Clarion Books)
  • Adam Sternbergh (2015 Best First Novel Nominee – Shovel Ready, Crown Publishers)

10:10 – 11:10: Location, Location, Location

??????????????????????????????????????????John D. Macdonald brought Florida to vivid life, and Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles streets were lean and mean. The setting of a novel can go a long way to setting the mood and tone of the book and help develop its themes. But how do you bring the mean streets to life? Should you avoid, as Elmore Leonard suggested, starting with the weather?


  • OLINE COGDILL, 2013 Raven Award Recipient


  • Tom Bouman (2015 Best First Novel Nominee – Dry Bones in the Valley, W.W. Norton)
  • CB McKenzie (2015 Best First Novel Nominee – Bad Country, Minotaur Books)
  • Karin Slaughter (2015 Best Novel Nominee – Cop Town, Delacorte Books)
  • Lisa Turner (2015 Best PBO Nominee – The Gone Dead Train, William Morrow)

11:20-12:20: Research, Research, Research

All writers, whether fiction or non-fiction, have to do a lot of research to give their books authenticity and ring true. You can’t just make up things, no matter how much you want to or how much easier it would make your life – you’ve got to pound the pavement and hit the stacks. Some of today’s top writers talk about their research methodology and share helpful hints about taking on the task of research


  • DANIEL STASHOWER, 3-Time Edgar Award Winner


  • Kevin Cook (2015 Best Fact Crime Nominee – Kitty Genovese, W.W. Norton)
  • Julia Dahl (2015 Best First & MHC Award Nominee – Invisible City, Minotaur Books)
  • Jim Mancall (2015 Best Crit/Bio Nominee – James Ellroy, McFarland)
  • William Mann (2015 Best Fact Crime – Tinseltown, HarperCollins)
  • Robert Miklitsch (2015 Best Crit/Bio – Kiss the Blood Off My Hands, Univ of Illinois Press)

1:30 – 2:30: Don’t Quit Your Day Job

One of the biggest tropes is the struggling actor who waits tables while waiting for his/her big break. Unfortunately, for most writers, it’s not much different. The ability to stay home and write all day just isn’t an option: the bills still have to be paid. How do you juggle the needs of a day job or a family with finding the time to write and promote your work?


  • CLARE O’DONOHUE, MWA National Board Member & Midwest Chapter President


  • Allen Eskens (2015 Best First Nominee – The Life We Bury, Seventh Street Books)
  • Alison Gaylin (2015 Best PBO Nominee – Stay With Me, William Morrow)
  • Harold Schechter (2015 Best Fact Crime Nominee – The Mad Sculptor, Amazon – New Harvest)
  • Ashley Weaver (2015 Best First Nominee – Murder at the Brightwell, Minotaur Books)

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????2:40 – 3:40: From the Writer’s Desk
Part 1

  • Grand Master Lois Duncan
  • Interviewed by Laura Lippman


3:50 – 5:00: From the Writer’s Desk
Part 2

  • Grand Master James Ellroy
  • Interviewed by Otto Penzler

Cost:  $90 members, $125 non-members – with a $35 retroactive discount for those who join Mystery Writers of America within 30 days of Symposium.

Photo Credits, Respectively
alswart | DPC
Tomasz Zajda

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