This April, writers Max Allan Collins and Ellen Hart will be honored for their exceptional and long-running success as the 2017 Grand Masters award winners from the Mystery Writers of America (MWA). Collins is pictured on the left with Hart to the right in photos available on their author websites.
The MWA press release about the award said it “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.” Typically, only one writer receives the annual award but this year the MWA recognized two with very distinct careers.
The industrious Collins has written several mystery series including the Quarry novels with a professional assassin, the Nathan Heller novels featuring a Chicago private investigator set during the 1930s and 40s, and the Mike Hammer novels about a private investigator created by crime novelist Mickey Spillane. Collins is completing unfinished novels by Spillane in the Hammer series. Tackling various writing avenues such as film, graphic novels, comics and more, Collins has a writing career spanning more than 50 years. His work includes adaptations of TV shows into novels such as the long-running crime drama “CSI.” One of his most popular works is his graphic novel, “Road to Perdition,” which later served as the basis of a movie by the same name starring Tom Hanks. Collins later returned with sequels to the graphic novel, typical in novels.
Writer Ellen Hart enjoys a successful career with two mystery series: food critic and amateur Sophie Greenway and private investigator Jane Lawless. Most novels feature Lawless, who is a Minneapolis restaurateur with a growing calling to work professionally as a detective. The first Lawless mystery was published in 1989 and over the years, Hart has won multiple awards and honors for her lesbian character in mysteries.
The award ceremony for the MWA is called the Annual Edgar Awards, named after writer Edgar Allan Poe.