News & Views

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The MWA-NY Library Committee branched out with an inaugural event at the historic New York Society Library on September 21st with an author panel themed The Golden Age of Mysteries: Tracing the Bloodline of Crime Fiction. Co-sponsored by MWA-NY and the NYSL, the panel included Charles Ardai, Julia Dahl, Elizabeth Zelvin, and Parnell Hall (just four days from winning the 2016 Shamus Award for Best Private Eye Short Story at Bouchercon), and was led by moderator Joseph Goodrich. The legendary setting was a natural fit. As Carolyn Waters, head librarian, and Sara Holliday, events coordinator, pointed out, the great authors who fueled the discussion—from Christie to Chandler to Sayers, Allingham, Hammett and beyond—live in the library’s vast collection. If you couldn't make it, the New York Society Library has graciously provided a video of the event.


bonesscones2One of the many challenges for public libraries today is attracting community interest. Building engagement with local communities through fun, educational, and relevant programs that bring people together at no cost to the public is a tall order. As an employee of two public libraries in New Jersey, I talk with library staff about this issue quite often. As a member of the Mystery Writers of America, I always advocate for the representation of mystery and crime fiction authors in public libraries.

Last year while talking with Madison Public Library adult services librarian Cassidy Charles (she buys all the mysteries, by the way) about the difficulty of developing fresh program ideas, MWA naturally came up while discussing mystery-related programming. MWA's free library panels are always successful and engage the audience with fun and relevant topics. But, Cassidy had already facilitated a few author panels that year and was looking to create something a bit more interactive.

"Bob mentioned the Noir at the Bar series that MWA had been involved with and I thought that was great," Cassidy said. "Now if we could take that idea and adapt it for the library setting and a library collection we could have something."

Cozy mysteries are very popular at the Madison Public Library, and we realized that there wasn't anything like Noir at the Bar for the cozy genre. While noir readings fit the bar setting, cozies were a different matter. Traditional mysteries lend themselves better to a quieter, more relaxed setting. What better place than a public library? Instead of serving scotch on the rocks, tea and scones could be on the menu. Because, let's face it, free food always draws a crowd.

Cassidy brought in a local writers group and gauged their interest in participating alongside published authors from MWA. The purpose of this would be to draw in aspiring writers and give them an outlet to present their work to an audience while networking with professionals in the industry. Cozy authors liked the idea because the event gave them a new way to showcase their upcoming works and connect with readers. Within a few weeks Bones & Scones was born. After working out details with then-MWA-NY president Richie Narvaez, we were able to secure for active member authors to read and the event was set.

Despite the beautiful weather on that October Saturday afternoon last year, the first Bones & Scones had a terrific turnout, and the crowd enjoyed the event so much that they stayed for an impromptu Q & A afterward. Readers included Susan Breen, Peggy Ehrhart, Carole Bugge (aka C.E. Lawrence), and Mary McHugh (pictured, clockwise).

Two women from the local writers' group read following the MWA readers, and one of them joined MWA following the program. "Initially we only had one local reader signed-up," said Cassidy, "but after hearing the MWA authors speak, another local reader felt the event atmosphere was welcoming and a good environment to share in."

In hopes of repeating last year's success, the second annual Bones & Scones is scheduled for October 8, 2 p.m., at the Madison NJ Public Library. The MWA lineup will include: Peggy Ehrhart, Susan Breen, Tim Hall, and C.E. Lawrence. Once again we’ve opened the event to local writers to follow the main program with a Q & A (time permitting). And, of course, FREE tea and scones.

Robert J. Daniher

Robert J. Daniher lives in New Jersey where he works as an IT Support Technician for Madison Public Library and Library of The Chathams. He has been a member of MWA since 2009 and assists the MWA-NY Library Committee with planning author events at North Jersey libraries. His short fiction has appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine for the Mysterious Photograph Contest and in the annual Deadly Ink Short Story Collections of 2007 and 2008.


Three copyIt was mysterious! It was horrific! It was . . . romantic!

Members of the Mystery Writers of America, New York Chapter, the Horror Writers Association, and the Romance Writers of America-New York City met and mingled over cocktails (and in air conditioning, on an extremely muggy summer night) at Le Poisson Rouge in Manhattan on August 11. MWA-NY’s Laura K.Curtis, HWA’s James Chambers, and RWA-NYC’s Kate McMurray each spoke briefly to the crowd.

IMG_4173 copyThis event was sponsored by MWA-NY, HWA, and RWA-NYC. Future genre-writer gatherings are planned, with, we hope, members of the Science Fiction Writers of America!

To see a full album of photographs, visit our Facebook page here.

Photographs by Jonathan Sharpe.


writingThe deadline for the inaugural Leon B. Burstein Scholarship has been extended. Aspiring mystery writers can now submit their applications until Friday, September 23. You can download the application by clicking here.

The scholarship, named for avid mystery fan Leon B. Burstein, supports mystery writing by providing financial assistance to writers who want to take a specific class, attend a conference, or research a particular subject for a mystery work in progress. MWA members and non-members may both apply, provided they do not meet the criteria for active membership. Please tell your writer friends who might be interested!

To apply, you'll need to include a writing sample as well as a brief personal statement, including how the scholarship will help you to achieve your goals and how you will use the funds (i.e., the specific class, conference, or other research activity, including travel). The writing sample should be an excerpt from a work-in-progress, fiction or nonfiction, book, short story, play or screenplay, adult, YA, or juvenile; but it must be related to mystery writing.

Scholarships will range between $500 and $1,000, depending on the scope of the submission. Two scholarships will be given in 2016. Winners will be announced on November 2, 2016.

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