Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger 2008
Winner: Sue Grafton

Sue Grafton; photo: Steven Hum
The twenty-third Cartier Diamond Dagger for sustained excellence in the genre of crime writing, has been awarded to the best-selling American novelist, Sue Grafton.

The presentation of the award, made for sustained excellence in the genre of crime writing, will be made by M. Arnaud Bamberger of Cartier and will take place at a champagne reception at the Gore Hotel, Kensington, London SW7 on May 7th 2008. Tickets will be available nearer the date.
SUE GRAFTON was born in Kentucky in 1940, the daughter of mystery writer CW Grafton. After receiving a bachelors degree in English Literature from the University of Louisville, she worked as a TV scriptwriter before her Kinsey Millhone alphabet series of PI mystery novels found success. The first in the series, A is for Alibi was famously inspired by her own divorce. “For months I lay in bed and plotted to kill my ex-husband, but I knew I’d bungle it and get caught so I wrote it in a book instead.”

Three of Ms Grafton’s novels have won the Anthony Award at the annual Bouchercon World Mystery Convention; she has won three Shamus Awards, and in 2004 received the Ross Macdonald Literary Award given to a California writer whose work raises the standard of literary excellence.

All the books in the Kinsey Millhone series are set in the fictional Santa Teresa, CA, which Ross Macdonald used as an alternative name for Santa Barbara in his novels. Ms Grafton plans to carry the series all the way through to Z. The latest number one best-seller, T is for Trespass, was published in the US in December 2007 and will be out in Macmillan hardback in the UK in April 2008. Ms Grafton’s novels are published in 28 countries and in 26 languages, including Bulgarian and Indonesian, although she has consistently refused to sell the film and television rights, claiming her experience as a screenwriter “cured” her of the desire to work with Hollywood.
On hearing of the award, Ms Grafton said: “News of my being named the 2008 recipient of the CWA's Cartier Diamond Dagger so astonished me that I thought at first it was a practical joke. The note from my British publisher, Macmillan, was typically understated: 'I have some good news from the Crime Writers' Association. They would very much like to award you the 2008 Cartier Diamond Dagger at a ceremony in London on 7th May in Kensington.' Good news !?! I read the message three times and then checked the e-mail address just to verify that it had been intended for me. The publicity director was gently inquiring if I might attend the ceremony. I am absolutely delighted to respond that I'll be there with bells on, as they say over here. I'm thrilled with the news and honored at the prospect. I confess I'm still slightly worried there's an error in the works, but I'll be there nonetheless.”
Sue Grafton's website is http://www.suegrafton.com/

The Cartier Diamond Dagger
As the name suggests, this coveted award is sponsored by Cartier, who have done so since its inception in 1986. The CWA committee selects writers nominated by the membership. Nominees have to meet two essential criteria: first, their careers must be marked by sustained excellence, and second, they must have made a significant contribution to crime fiction published in the English language, whether originally or in translation. The award is made purely on merit without reference to age, gender or nationality.

The first winner, in 1986, was Eric Ambler. Subsequent recipients have been P.D. James, John le Carré, Dick Francis, Julian Symons, Ruth Rendell, Leslie Charteris, Ellis Peters, Michael Gilbert, Reginald Hill, H.R.F. Keating, Colin Dexter, Ed McBain, Margaret Yorke, Peter Lovesey, Lionel Davidson, Sara Paretsky, Robert Barnard, Lawrence Block, Ian Rankin and Elmore Leonard.
Last year's winner was John Harvey.
Bookman Beattie, a huge fan of Sue Grafton and her protagonist Kinsey Millhone is thrilled with this win and offers Sue Grafton warmest congratulations. Well done Sue.
By the way T is for Trespass is available in NZ from Macmillan , RRP $38.00

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