The Memory Project
Off the top of my head, natural (Johnny Ketchum)

The Biggest Loser
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You are about to read a boastful post. I want to state this up front for a couple of reasons. Some might think what follows is poor-poor-me stuff. Worse, others might think it's what Jenna on 30 Rock called "backdoor bragging." I loathe conceit masked as self-deprecation. I believe that when we are proud of things, we should say it straight up, no chaser. Sing out, Louise, as Mama Rose said.

So here goes: I am one of the losing-est people in the history of the Edgar Award. In fact, I have a hunch that I am THE losing-est woman in the history of the Edgar, but I'm not convinced my research on this is complete. I have definitely outpaced Margaret Millar and S.J. Rozan. Millar lost the Edgar twice in three nominations. (Besting her husband, Kenneth Millar, who wrote under the name Ross Macdonald and never won at all, if one doesn't count Grand Master status.) S.J. has been nominated five times and won twice, a remarkable feat.

But I've been nominated seven times across three categories, winning once. That's two losses in best paperback original, two losses in short story and two losses in best novel. I also could consider myself a contributor to two other Edgar-nominated books, The Line-Up (which won) and The Write: Truth Be Told (which did not). I had essays in both books.

It's hard to get nominated for an Edgar seven times in a career that has spanned fourteen years. Then again, here is a list of some people who have yet to be nominated for an Edgar: Sara Paretsky, this year’s Grand Master. Kate Atkinson. Dennis Lehane has been nominated for a short story, but not for a single novel. Sue Grafton, another grand master, has been nominated for a short story and an episode of television, but E isn't for Edgar in her oeuvre. Lee Child, a recent president of MWA, is another shut-out. Mary Higgins Clark, too.

This isn't to denigrate the Edgar or question its value, quite the opposite. Steve Hamilton, who won for best novel this year, is one of a very few writers to win for best first and best novel. (Donald Westlake is another one.) That's a bigger achievement than being one of the losing-est Edgar nominees in history.

I'D KNOW YOU ANYWHERE, which managed to lose the Edgar and the L.A. Times Book Award in the same weekend (but snagged the Spinetingler Award -- in the living legend category, yet) goes on sale today in paperback. Give a loser a break and check it out. And in honor of today's post -- tell me something wonderful about yourself. Sing out, Louise.

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