Pinckley Prizes for Crime FictionPinckley Prizes for Crime Fiction

Greater New Orleans Foundation

Women’s National Book Association


Past Winners


C.S.Harris, Angie Kim, and Emma Copley Eisenberg are the recipients of the 2020 Pinckley Prizes in Crime Fiction and True Crime Writing, named to honor the memory of Diana Pinckley. The Pinckley Prizes partner with the Women’s National Book Association of New Orleans, of which Diana Pinckley was a founding member.

C.S. HarrisC.S. Harris is the winner of the Pinckley Prize for Distinguished Body of Work. Candice Proctor, aka C.S. Harris and C.S. Graham, is the USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of more than two dozen novels including the Sebastian St. Cyr Regency mystery series written under the name C.S. Harris, the C.S. Graham thriller series co-written with Steven Harris, and seven historical romances. She is also the author of a nonfiction historical study of women in the French Revolution. Her books are available worldwide and have been translated into over twenty languages. A former academic with a PhD in European history, Candice also worked as an archaeologist on a variety of sites including a Hudson's Bay Company Fort in San Juan Island, a Cherokee village in Tennessee, a prehistoric kill site in Victoria, Australia, and a Roman cemetery and medieval manor house in Winchester, England. She loves to travel and has spent much of her life abroad, living in Spain, Greece, England, France, Jordan, and Australia. She now makes her home in New Orleans, Louisiana, with her husband, retired Army officer Steve Harris, and an ever-expanding number of cats.

Who Speaks

In their citation, the judges said, “One of the pleasures of Harris’s writing is her painstaking attention to historical detail, but what really moves the reader is the way her writing demonstrates pressing issues that endure to the present – the rights of women and minorities and children, immigration, political corruption. Her writing manages to be both historical and very much of this moment.”

“I am stunned and thrilled to be honored in this way. It is particularly poignant to receive an award named in memory of Diana Pinckley, who did so much for both crime fiction and the authors who write it,” Proctor said.

Angie KimAngie Kim is the winner of the Pinckley Prize for Debut Fiction for her international bestseller and Edgar winning novel Miracle Creek, named a “Best Book of the Year” by Time, The Washington Post, Kirkus, and The Today Show, among others. Her novel also won the ITW Thriller Award, the Strand Critics’ Award, and the Pinckley Prize. A Korean immigrant, former editor of the Harvard Law Review, and one of Variety Magazine’s inaugural “10 Storytellers to Watch,” Kim has written for Vogue, The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, Glamour, and numerous literary journals. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and three sons.

Miracle Creek

Judge Jean Redmann said, “It's not the plot twists, but the people who keep you turning the pages, believable, heroic and imperfect. Beautifully written, it takes us into worlds we all should be more aware of.”

Kim dropped the phone when she heard the news, but recovered quickly when the judge called her back. “This is wonderful,” she said.

Emma Copley EisenbergEmma Copley Eisenberg is the winner of the Pinckley Prize for True Crime Writing. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in McSweeney’s, The New York Times, Granta, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Tin House, Guernica, The New Republic, The Washington Post Magazine, Esquire and others. She is the author of The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia, a New York Times Notable Book of 2020 and a novel and story collection forthcoming from Hogarth/Penguin Random House. She lives in Philadelphia, where she directs Blue Stoop, a hub for the literary arts; two additional works are already under contract.

Third Rainbow

The judges found this book to be an astonishing and compelling portrait of the unsolved murders of Vicki Durian, 26, and Nancy Santomero, 19, who were on their way to the Rainbow Gathering, a peace festival in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. Their bodies were found in an isolated clearing in Pocahontas County, June 25, 1980. Eisenberg, who has her own history with the area, pursued this story, looking at the lives of these women with insight and compassion, reckoning with her own coming of age, her own desire to push boundaries. It is a page turner that lingers long after its conclusion, a powerful meditation on women’s choices.

"I'm honored to be recognized by these discerning and wonderful judges. While The Third Rainbow Girl sits at the intersection of many genres and modes, I'm thrilled to see she's found such a welcoming and open home at the Pinckley Prize," Eisenberg said.


Megan AbbottMegan Abbott is the winner of the Pinckley Prize for Distinguished Body of Work. She is the author of 10 books. Her most recent novel is Give Me Your Hand, which depicts the rivalry between two female graduate students in the world of high-stakes science. You Will Know Me, her recent book about competitive gymnastics, was one of the most critically acclaimed of 2016, and Dare Me is currently being produced as a USA Network series. Her bestselling novels probe the dark side of female friendship and ambition with clear-eyed precision and insight. Abbott is also a scholar of crime fiction, and the author of a nonfiction book, The Street Was Mine: White Masculinity in Hardboiled Crime Fiction, and the editor of the anthology, A Hell of a Woman. Her work has won or been nominated for the CWA Steel Dagger, the International Thriller Writers Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and five Edgar awards, Currently, she is a staff writer on HBO's new David Simon show, The Deuce. She lives in New York.

give me your hand

The judges praised Abbott's fierce feminism, her brilliant prose style, and her laser-sharp insight into female friendships and ambition, particularly in her treatment of striving and gifted adolescent girls.

“This is such thrilling news!” Abbott said. “I feel more honored than I can say--such storied company and such a prestigious prize. I couldn’t be more proud.”

Sarah St. VincentNew York resident Sarah St. Vincent is the winner of the Pinckley Prize for Debut Novel for Ways to Hide in Winter, published by Melville house. St. Vincent is a human rights attorney who has advocated for survivors of domestic violence and currently researches national security and surveillance for Human Rights Watch. Her first novel blends her concerns with domestic violence and human rights in a chilling tale of a fugitive and the woman who gets to know him over a wintry season in a state park.

ways hide winterSt.Vincent's exquisitely written novel is eerily timely, said the judges, as issues of domestic violence and immigration continue to lead the news.

“This is absolutely wonderful news!” St.Vincent said. I had no idea Ways to Hide in Winter was being considered for this prize and am beyond delighted.”


Ellen HartEllen Hart is the winner of the Pinckley Prize for Distinguished Body of Work. Hart is the author of 32 novels in two series, one begun in 1989 and featuring Jane Lawless, a lesbian restaurateur and her best friend, Cordelia Thorne. She is also the author of the Sophie Greenway series. Hart's novels deal with LGBT issues and have received six prestigious Lambda Literary Awards. In 2017, she was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, its highest honor; she is the first LGBT writer to achieve this recognition. Hart lives in Eden Prairie, Minn.

Hart book cover

The judges praised Hart’s persistence over a long and distinguished publishing career, her generosity to other writers, and her success in creating believable and lovable characters.

Hart said, "I'm still a bit stunned. What an unexpected and incredible honor this is, one that also brings with it the chance to return to New Orleans, one of my all-time favorite cities."

Marcie RendonMinneapolis resident Marcie Rendon wins the Pinckley Prize for Debut Novel for her book Murder on the Red River, published by Cinco Puntos Press. An enrolled member of the White Earth Nation, Rendon is a playwright, poet, and freelance writer. She has published four nonfiction children’s books; two are Pow Wow Summer and Farmer’s Market: Families Working Together. Rendon is a community arts activist who supports other native artists/writers/creators in pursuing their art.

The judges, facing a formidable field of entries this year, were impressed with Rendon’s sense of place and her creation of an unforgettable character who forges her own way in a challenging world.

Murder on the Red River"I keep saying Wow!... wow... I am thrilled and honored that Murder on the Red River is receiving the Pinckley Debut Novel Award,” Rendon said. “Wow. The characters in the book are alive in my mind as I write. It touches my heart that Cash, Wheaton, the kids - come alive to readers as well. I hope that other women writers, women writers of color, will hold heart to what is possible for them and never give up on their dreams-whatever that may be. We need to write our stories, create our own mirrors. I am so pleased and again, wow. Miigwetch. Miigwetch. (thank you, thank you)”


Louise PennyBestselling author Louise Penny, the first Canadian to receive the award, is the winner of the Pinckley Prize for Distinguished Body of Work; her appearance in New Orleans is part of her national tour for a new novel. She is the author of 13 novels in the Armand Gamache series. The latest, Glass Houses, will be published August 29th.

Glass Houses

In their statement about the choice of Penny, the committee said, “Penny has created a world where most of us would like to live. In the village of Three Pines, Quebec, readers take refuge and delight among its endearing inhabitants. Crime may occur, but it never triumphs, not when Gamache is on the case. Penny finds her mantra in the words of W.H. Auden – ‘Goodness exists’ – something we need reminding of in these times.”

Penny said, “What amazing company – all women whose works I admire and enjoy. All trailblazers in an industry we love. As was Diana. It also speaks volumes about Diana and her friends that not only was this award created, but that it celebrated both the established and the emerging. This generation and the next. I’m where I am because of other women in the industry, be they authors, editors, publicists, reviewers, booksellers, librarians. And now we all get to help the luminous new voices.”

Trudy Nan BoyceAtlanta resident Trudy Nan Boyce wins the Pinckley Prize for Debut Novel for her book Out of the Blues, published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, the beginning of a series featuring Detective Sara Alt, or “Salt.” Boyce’s experiences as a beat cop, Homicide detective, senior hostage negotiator and lieutenant all add authenticity to her writing, in what the judges called, “This gutsy, confident first novel.”

Out of the Blues“What a thrill,” Boyce said. “I am honored to be among such company as the past award recipients and to be chosen by your judges. And, man, do I love New Orleans! I last visited two or three years ago for the French Quarter Festival; stayed in a B & B on Esplanade near Treme. It was, as New Orleans often is, magical. I've got a story I've been working on for years that is inspired by a coming of age experience I had in New Orleans when I was thirteen.”


Sara ParetskyBestselling author Sara Paretsky is the winner of the Pinckley Prize for Distinguished Body of Work. The author of 24 books, many featuring her signature character V.I. Warshawski, Paretsky founded Sisters In Crime, a worldwide organization to support women crime writers. Paretsky also has a storied career as a passionate advocate for social justice and literacy. Her memoir of political dissent is titled, Writing In the Age of Silence. Sara received the 2015 Paul Engle Prize, recognizing both her body of work and her work for social justice, The Washington Post named Brush Back, Sara’s most recent novel, one of 2015’s top five thrillers.

Brush Back

In their statement about the choice of Paretsky, the committee said, “Sara Paretsky’s singular creation of V. I. Warshawski has stood the test of time and reader loyalty through 19 books since she first debuted in 1982 with Indemnity Only. The Chicago private investigator is fierce and funny and an advocate for all the right causes, just like her creator. Sara Paretsky has used her considerable personal literary gifts to further equal rights for women, racial justice, as well as shining a light on the need for increased literacy and help for troubled teens and the mentally ill. She is a former president of the Mystery Writers of America, and a great advocate for the rights of authors. In 1986, she founded Sisters in Crime, and we all know what an incredible difference that has made for women who write crime fiction. It seems especially appropriate to recognize her as that organization approaches its 30th anniversary, as well as for an impressive body of work that has illuminated the lives of women in all their bravery and complexity.”

Paretsky said, “I am extraordinarily honored by this award, which connects me to Diana Pinckley, who was a thoughtful and insightful reviewer/reader. I'm also delighted to be connected through this award to America's most gallant city.”

Christine CarboMontana resident Christine Carbo wins the Pinckley Prize for Debut Novel for her book The Wild Inside, published by Atria Press. The judges said, “This absorbing crime novel weaves intriguing psychological themes around the presence of a truly frightening grizzly bear, a reminder of all that is wild out there.”

The Wild InsideAs a debut novelist,” said Carbo, “I am humbled and overwhelmed to win the Pinckley Award. Receiving it is a gratifying affirmation that my attempt to shine some light on the ineffable relationship between man and nature has worked on some level. Perhaps, with this award, the spectacular, revered and endangered grizzly bear will become a little more understood. It is truly an honor to have my work associated with the remarkable Diana Pinckley and the Women’s National Book Association of New Orleans."


Nevada Barr and Adrianne Harun were the recipients of the 2015 Pinckley Prizes for Crime Fiction, named to honor the memory of Diana Pinckley, longtime crime fiction columnist for The New Orleans Times-Picayune. The prizes were presented March 26, 2015, at the 29th annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival at the historic Beauregard-Keyes House.

Nevada BarrBestselling author and New Orleanian Nevada Barr was the winner of the Pinckley Prize for a Distinguished Body of Work. The author of 22 books, many featuring her signature character, Anna Pigeon, Barr is the author of the current New York Times bestseller, Destroyer Angel.

Destroyer AngelIn their statement about the choice of Barr, the committee said, “Nevada Barr is known for her commitment to getting the good word out about our national parks and has been honored by the National Parks Conservation Association for her work. Park ranger Anna Pigeon, Barr’s memorable protagonist in a long-running series, is one of those enduring and inspiring characters who shows what is possible for women - strong, fearless women. And in her most recent novel, Destroyer Angel, Barr extends her range to show how technology is making even the most wild landscape accessible to the differently abled.”

Barr said, “Getting the Pinckley Prize is a validation that New Orleans is my home, that I belong here.”

Adrianne HarunWashington State resident Adrianne Harun won the Pinckley Prize for a Debut Novel, for her book, A Man Came Out Of A Door In The Mountain, published by Penguin Books. “This story captured our attention with its poetic language. The novel is a genre-expanding meditation on the nature of evil and how this force manifests in the world. Harun based her fictional story on the real-life unsolved mystery of the aboriginal women who have been murdered or remain lost along the infamous ‘Highway of Tears’ in northern British Columbia. The factual grounding adds a chilling resonance to her seductive and beautiful writing.”

A Man Came Out of a DoorHarun said, “Having A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain acknowledged with this particular award is an astonishing and deeply gratifying boon. I’m especially thrilled that the subject of this novel may receive more attention as a result and chalk that good fortune up to the enduring goodness and activism of Diana Pinckley herself. What an honor it is to have my work associated with her name and with the Women’s National Book Association of New Orleans."


Laura Lippman and Gwen Florio were the recipients of the inaugural Pinckley Prizes for Crime Fiction, named to honor the memory of Diana Pinckley, longtime crime fiction columnist for The New Orleans Times-Picayune. The prizes were presented March 22, 2014, at the 28th annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival at the historic Beauregard-Keyes House.

Laura LippmanBestselling author and part-time New Orleanian Laura Lippman was the winner of the first Pinckley Prize for a Distinguished Body of Work. The author of 19 books, many featuring her signature character, Baltimore detective Tess Monaghan, Lippman is the author of the current New York Times bestseller, After I’m Gone, published by William Morrow.

In their statement about the choice of Lippman, the committee said, “Laura Lippman is one of those writers whose dedication to her home town of Baltimore has captivated American readers. She has created an enduring sleuth in Tess Monaghan, a complex character dealing with the issues that every contemporary woman confronts. And more than that, in her stand-alone works, Lippman has transcended the limits and challenges of genre to become a distinguished writer of social realism. All that, and she has a wicked sense of humor!”

Lippman, said, “Of course I'm gratified to receive this award, but it is especially meaningful to me as I had the great luck to meet Diana, socially and professionally. I know we like to think that our culture, our society has moved beyond a point where we need prizes that are for certain genres or genders. But we haven't. And to have a prize that recognizes one's body of work, and to have that prize be part of Tennessee Williams Festival in New Orleans, a city that truly embraces reading -- I am overwhelmed at the honor of being the recipient. I love my second hometown."

Gwen FlorioMontana resident Gwen Florio won the Pinckley Prize for a Debut Novel, for her first book, Montana, published by Permanent Press. “Out of a field of excellent debut crime novels, we picked Montana because we completely fell in love with the main character. It’s often difficult to pinpoint why someone is lovable. Suffice to say that Gwen Florio’s protagonist Lola fully lives on the page, and what is even more compelling about this brave, irascible character is that she continues to live after the book is closed. She's fearless, flawed, intelligent, reckless, and funny, but most of all, she is defined by loyalty to her friend and a relentless pursuit of her killer."

Florio said, “"As a recovering journalist, I’m honored and humbled that my novel featuring an investigative reporter has received this inaugural award named for a newspaper columnist – and that I share the award with another former journalist. It’s especially meaningful to receive it in this city long known for treasuring journalism, particularly in these difficult times."