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Lesbian mystery writer Ellen Hart to receive Grand Master Award
by Sarah Toce
2016-12-07

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Lesbian mystery author Ellen Hart's exemplary work embodies over three decades of relevance and now the Minneapolis based prodigy is being honored by the Mystery Writers of America ( MWA ) organization. Hart is scheduled to receive the 2017 Grand Master Award by the MWA at the 71st Annual Edgar Awards Banquet at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City on Thursday, April 27, 2017. Hart will share the Grand Master title with Road to Perdition suspense scribe Max Allan Collins.

"A writer's stock-in-trade is imagination," Hart said upon learning of the honor. "I've always felt mine was pretty good, but never in a million years did I ever think winning the MWA Grand Master award was a possibility. I'm stunned, grateful and profoundly honored."

Six-time Lambda Literary Award winner Hart is the author of 32 crime novels and has been named the four-time winner of the Minnesota Book Award for Best Popular Fiction, and the three-time winner of the Golden Crown Literary Award for mystery. The mystery series "Jane Lawless and Sophie Greenaway" are perhaps the most well-known in her lengthy arsenal ( the Lawless series features a lesbian restaurateur and her smart-mouthed best friend, Cordelia Thorn ).

In addition to her work in literature, Hart has taught writing for 17 years through the Loft Literary Center, the largest independent writing community in the nation.

Hart and wife Kathleen Kruger live in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and have been partners for more than 37 years. The former professional chef met Kruger in college and became roommates with Kruger's two children ( later legally adopted by Hart ). The two share two grandchildren.

Hart has previously said of her work, "I don't write about the Mean Streets. I don't live there...I don't do lots of blood and gore. I don't do sex scenes in any great detail. I'd never kill a dog or a cat. I guess you could call my style, maximal suspense and minimal gore."

In 2005, Hart was inducted into the Saints and Sinners Hall of Fame—an honor previously bestowed to Dorothy Allison, Felice Picano and Katherine V. Forrest. Hart was awarded the Trailblazer Award from the Golden Crown Literary Society in 2010, and is a founding member of The Minnesota Crime Wave.

Previous MWA Grand Masters include Walter Mosley, Lois Duncan, James Ellroy, Robert Crais, Carolyn Hart, Martha Grimes, Sara Paretsky, James Lee Burke, Sue Grafton, Mary Higgins Clark, Lawrence Block, P.D. James, Ellery Queen, Daphne du Maurier, Alfred Hitchcock, Graham Greene, Agatha Christie and many others.

The Edgar Awards—or "Edgars," as they are commonly known—are named after MWA's patron saint, Edgar Allan Poe, and are presented to authors of distinguished work in various categories. MWA is the premier organization for mystery writers, professionals allied to the crime-writing field, aspiring crime writers and those devoted to the genre. The organization encompasses some 3,000 members including authors of fiction and non-fiction books, screen and television writers, as well as publishers, editors and literary agents.

For more information about Mystery Writers of America, visit MysteryWriters.org .


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