Pinckley Prizes for Crime FictionPinckley Prizes for Crime Fiction

Greater New Orleans Foundation

Women’s National Book Association


2022-2023 Pinckley Prizes

Alafair Burke, Margot Douaihy, and Sascha Rothchild are the recipients of the Pinckley Prizes in Crime Fiction for 2022 and 2023. The prizes, named to honor the memory of Diana Pinckley, will be presented on March 22nd in New Orleans. The Pinckley Prizes partner with the Women’s National Book Association of New Orleans, of which Diana Pinckley was a founding member.

Alafair BurkeAlafair Burke is the winner of the 2023 Pinckley Prize for Distinguished Body of Work. Burke is the New York Times, Edgar Award nominated author of twenty crime novels. Published in more than twenty languages, her books have been featured on “Best Book” lists from the Today Show, Entertainment Weekly, People, O (Oprah Magazine), The Boston Globe, Washington Post, Sun Sentinel, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and numerous other outlets. She has been called “a genius for plot” and “one of our greatest contemporary mystery writers.” She is the current President of Mystery Writers of America and the first woman of color to be elected to that position. In addition to the standalone novels that have earned her a reputation as “a virtuoso” of domestic suspense, she authors “two power house series” featuring NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher and Portland Deputy District Attorney Samantha Kincaid. In addition to her own work, Alafair also co-authored the "Under Suspicion” series with Queen of Suspense Mary Higgins Clark. Alafair traces a lifelong fascination with crime to the fact that she grew up in Wichita, Kansas, where a serial killer was active during her formative years. In a world where the killer could be anyone, Alafair found comfort in crime fiction. Her mother, a school librarian, helped her navigate from Encyclopedia Brown to Nancy Drew to Agatha Christie and eventually to Sue Grafton.

Scorched Grace Cover

Margot DouaihyMargot Douaihy is the winner of the 2023 Pinckley Prize for Debut Fiction for her lyrical crime novel Scorched Grace, which was named a Best Crime Novel of 2023 by The New York Times, The Guardian, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, CrimeReads, Marie Claire, BookPage, and Sheperd, and one of the most anticipated crime books of the year by THEM and LGBTQ Reads. The second book in the Sister Holiday Mystery series, Blessed Water, will be released March 12, 2024.

The judges selected Scorched Grace for the novel’s delightful new vision of the noir sleuth: Sister Holiday is lavishly tattooed and plays lead guitar in her punk band Original Sin. She also happens to be a novitiate in the order of the Sisters of the Sublime Blood. She came to New Orleans to make amends for her past transgressions and solves crimes along the way. Douaihy’s writing is playful, the language as luscious as the setting, while the true heart of the story emerges with blazing warmth and compassion for troubled souls.

Margot Douaihy was born in Scranton, Pa, and now she lives and works in Northampton, MA. A Co-Editor of the Cambridge University Press Elements in Crime Narrative Series and Multimodal/Multimedia Section Editor of Journal of Creative Writing Studies (RIT ScholarWorks), Douaihy’s work has been featured or reviewed in Colorado Review, The Common by Amherst College, Diode, The Florida Review, North American Review, PBS NewsHour, The Madison Review, Mystery Tribune, Portland Review, Vanity Fair, and others. Honors include the Left Coast Crime Best Debut Mystery Nominee (2024); Best Author by Boston Magazine (2023); The F. Lamott Belin Arts Scholarship for Virtual Reality Poetry (2023), New England Book Award Finalist (2023), Mass Cultural Council Artist Fellowship (2022), The Florida Review Humboldt Poetry Prize Runner-Up (2021), Aesthetica Magazine Creative Writing Award Finalist (2021), Ernest Hemingway Foundation Hemingway Shorts Finalist (2021), and Lambda Literary Award Poetry Finalist (2015). A founding member of the Creative Writing Studies Organization, she is an active member of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, Queer Crime Writers, and Radius of Arab American Writers (RAWI).


Sascha RothchildSascha Rothchild is the winner of the 2022 Pinckley Prize for Debut Novel for her first book Blood Sugar.

Blood Sugar Cover

Sascha Rothchild grew up in Miami Beach. It was bananas. She majored in playwriting at Boston College. It was freezing. She moved to Los Angeles to become a writer. It was dramatic. After an infamous turn on This American Life, humorous personal essays published in LA Weekly, a comedic yet heartfelt memoir, How To Get Divorced By 30, published by Penguin/Plume, and many other jobs in between, Sascha is now an Emmy-winning screenwriter. She is proud of her work on the lauded shows GLOW, The Bold Type, The Babysitters-Club, The Carrie Diaries, and more. She is especially thrilled her debut novel, Blood Sugar, was published by Penguin/Putnam in 2022, garnering rave reviews from The New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly and others.

The 2023 judges were impressed with the smart plotting and distinctive voice of Sascha Rothchild's Blood Sugar. Its protagonist, Ruby Simon, is one of the most seductive of psychopaths—clever, self-justifying, and so inventive that the reader can't wait to see what she does next. Rothchild's screenwriting skills translate beautifully to this novel, which also rises to its Miami setting, from Ruby's South Beach days of clubbing to her practice as a therapist. And who wouldn't love a serial killer who meets her best friend when he leaves a note in her Abnormal Psych textbook? Fast, funny, and sharp, Blood Sugar is filled with memorable moments and characters.


Meet the past winners.