Tuesday, May 30, 2017

And then there was this…

by Rick Blechta

Something strange happened to me last Thursday. I won an Arthur Ellis Award from Crime Writers of Canada for my writing.

To say the very least, I was shocked. It was completely unexpected, and at the time, I wasn’t really paying attention the way I should have been. Allow me to explain.

In case you don’t know — and if the Canadian media is any kind of example, ignoring the winners of this year’s Arthurs with nearly complete unanimity, so you probably don’t — the Arthurs are one of the top awards in the crime writing world. It is an exceptional honour to receive one. (It is also an extremely cool statuette.)

Type M even boasts a multiple-Arthur winner (for Best Novel): Barbara Fradkin, receiving them in back-to-back years which had never been done before or since.

So it’s a Big Deal to get one.

I had been asked to be the Arthur Ellis Gala’s photographer for the evening, so I was hovering backstage waiting to leap out to take shots of the various winners and presenters. I fully did not expect to win because the field for Best Novella was very strong, and included Peter Robinson who has won more Arthurs than anyone else. My mind was focused on lining up the next shot as my old friend Linda Wiken walked onstage to reveal the winner of this year’s Best Novella Arthur. The names of the nominees, their books and the publishers of each were read and the envelope opened. “And the winner of the Best Novella is Rick Blechta, Rundown, Orca Book Publishers.” (Or something like that.)

My first thought upon hearing that was, “Oh God! Who’s going to take the photo?” I’d joked a few times over the past week that if I were to win, I’d have to take a selfie, but fortunately I didn’t remember that at the time. I was rescued by the CWC’s able Chair, Cathy Ace, who took the camera from my shaking hands (I would have taken a terrific photo with shaking hands, wouldn’t I?) who snapped a great shot.

After my moment in the sun, during which I hope I babbled out something appropriate, thanking the right people and all — I had not given a moment’s thought as to what I might say in the event Rundown won — I put my Arthur down on the floor backstage and went back to work with my camera.

As soon as the gala ended, I got busy packing away all the CWC gear my wife (who is the organization’s executive director) had brought. By the time I’d finished, I looked around and everyone was gone.

So much for the glamour of being an “award-winning author”.

Click HERE for a link to the complete list of Arthur Ellis Winners for 2017.

And a special shout-out to my fellow nominees: Brenda Chapman, Jas. R. Petrin, Linda L. Richards, and Peter Robinson who all wrote really great books. You should definitely check them out. Click HERE for all those details (scroll down the page a bit).


Sybil Johnson said...

A big congrats!

Sybil Johnson said...

Forgot to say, that's a very nice picture.

Donis Casey said...

Most excellent news, and congratulations on such a prestigious prize!

Rick Blechta said...


Maybe Cathy Ace could become a double threat: terrific author and (dare I say it?) ace shutterbug.

And thank you, Sybil and Donis! Much appreciated.

Eileen Goudge said...

Cheers! That is so exciting, and well-deserved I'm sure. This is what we're playing for, right?

Rick Blechta said...

Eileen, You betcha!

Frankie Y. Bailey said...

Congratulations, Rick! I'm just catching up on this week's post.

Rick Blechta said...

Thank you very much, Frankie.