MWA’s 2021 Grand Masters Are Charlaine Harris and Jeffery Deaver

Mystery Writers of America (MWA) announced the recipients of two special awards on November 23. Charlaine Harris and Jeffery Deaver are the 2021 Grand Masters, and the 2020 Raven Award recipient is Malice Domestic, a mystery convention. The awards will be presented at the 75th Annual Edgar Awards Ceremony on April 29, 2021.

One of the new grand masters is of sff interest as well, because Charlaine Harris has written a lot of paranormal mysteries, most notably the Sookie Stackhouse series.

MWA Grand Master Award

MWA President Meg Gardiner said —

Mystery Writers of America is thrilled to honor Jeffery Deaver and Charlaine Harris as MWA’s 2021 Grand Masters. Over the course of decades, Deaver and Harris have gripped tens of millions of readers while broadening the reach of the genre with transformative books—notably, Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme series, and Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse novels—and while generously encouraging and supporting fellow writers and the reading public. We’re delighted to recognize their achievements.

MWA’s Grand Master Award “represents the pinnacle of achievement in mystery writing and was established to acknowledge important contributions to this genre, as well as for a body of work that is both significant and of consistent high quality. “

Jeffery Deaver has published more than forty novels since the early 1990’s, including two series besides the Lincoln Rhyme novels, numerous stand-alone and short story collections.  

Crime author Jeffery Deaver in 2012. By Garry Knight – Flickr: Jeffery Deaver, CC BY-SA 2.0,

On being notified of the honor, Deaver said:

When I was a (relatively) young writer new to this business of penning novels, many years ago, the first professional organization I joined was Mystery Writers of America. Signing on felt to me like coming home—being welcomed into a community of fellow authors willing to share their expertise and offer support in a profession that was largely, well, a ‘mystery’ to me. Besides, how could I not join? MWA was the real deal; for proof, one had only to look at those in the ranks of the Grand Masters: Agatha Christie, Rex Stout, Ellery Queen, James M. Cain . . . and so many others whose works populated my bookshelves. Yet it never once occurred to me, in all my years as a member and my two terms as president, that I might be invited into those very ranks. I wish to express by boundless gratitude to MWA for this honor, which stands, without question, as the highpoint of my career.

Charlaine Harris has published 13 novels in the Southern Vampire series (adapted into the popular HBO series True Blood), which proved so popular that at one point her novels took half of the top ten slots on New York Times’ bestseller list. Her other series include the Aurora Teagarden novels, the Lily Bard (Shakespeare) books, the Midnight Texas trilogy (adapted for television) and numerous others, as well as several standalones.

Charlaine Harris. Photo by Omaha Star. Public Domain,

Harris said of her selection:

This is like winning the lottery and the Pulitzer Prize in one day. I am so honored and thrilled to join the ranks of revered writers who are Grand Masters. I thank the MWA Board from the bottom of my heart.

The Raven Award

Malice Domestic mystery conference, founded in 1989 and held every spring since, will receive the 2021 Raven Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing. 

Malice Domestic focuses primarily on traditional mysteries, their authors and fans, and also presents the Agatha Awards, with six categories.

[Thanks to Cora Buhlert for the story.]

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