Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Edgars 2014: My First Trip to the Mystery Writers of America Awards Banquet

For mystery writers, the Edgars are the equivalent of the Oscars. The Mystery Writers of America give out the awards at a black-tie banquet each year in New York City, and I'd never previously attended. Why not? I couldn't think of a good reason! It's true it's on the other side of the country for me, but I was planning to attend Malice Domestic in Bethesda, Maryland, the day after the Edgars, so I could do what a lot of other mystery writers do: take the train from NYC to DC the morning after the awards. So I booked my tickets and headed to New York for my first Edgars--and I'm so glad I did!

After arriving in New York, I met up with talented historical mystery writer Gigi Vernon (she's "the other Gigi," in spite of what she might tell you!). Gigi V. has a short story in the new Mystery Writers of America short story collection, Ice Cold: Tales of Intrigue from the Cold War

The two Gigis of mystery fiction: Gigi Vernon and Gigi Pandian.
The 2014 MWA anthology.

The awards were hosted by thriller writer Brad Meltzer, the current president of MWA. I've been reading Brad's books since his first thriller, The Tenth Justice, which came out the year I graduated from college. It was the year I was bumming around and trying to figure out what to do with my life, so I had time to discover a lot of great books that year, like Brad's debut. He was a charming and funny host, and the remarks and awards went by quickly because the program was broken up with video montages and entertaining guest speakers. The nominees and winners are listed here. And this year there were two authors from two sides of the mystery fiction spectrum named Grand Master: Robert Crais and Caroyn Hart. 

Brad Meltzer hosting the 2014 Edgar Awards.

Program book for the 2014 Edgars.

I wasn't sure what to expect from the festivities, which is one of the reasons I wanted to attend. Now that I'm published and taking my writing more seriously, I wanted to experience the broader mystery world. As a traditional mystery writer, my "home" in the mystery community is Malice Domestic, but I wanted to get to know friendly neighbors who I hadn't yet met. I didn't know many people, but I had a lovely time meeting new people at the cocktail party and at my banquet table. In some ways it was similar to the Agatha Awards (the traditional mystery awards given out at Malice Domestic), but the Edgars were bigger and fancier--including men in black-tie and women in fabulous Fluevog shoes!

Laura Curtis, Hilary Davidson, and Gigi Pandian:
all wearing Fluevog shoes to the Edgar Awards banquet.

A close-up of our Fluevogs. 

Very cute dessert plate at the Edgars.

While in New York, I had a chance to stop by The Mysterious Bookshop, with floor to ceiling mysteries--and those were some high ceilings! 
New York's famous mystery bookshop.

I didn't have much time to look for gargoyles, but I couldn't resist stopping to look at a few. 


Gargoyles on the Chrysler Building in New York.

The following morning, I caught the train to DC with a friend. With a three-hour train ride, I gave myself my own mini Amtrak writers residency. Between chatting and watching the scenery, I wrote four pages of plotting notes. Not too bad! Whenever I bemoan that life is too busy these days, I take a deep breath and remind myself it's busy because it's so damn fun. I take a moment to enjoy it--and then I get back to work. 

Writing on the train from NYC to DC,
heading from the Edgars to Malice Domestic.

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