November 29, 2016 – New York, NY – Max Allan Collins and Ellen Hart have been chosen as the 2017 Grand Masters by Mystery Writers of America (MWA). MWA’s Grand Master Award represents the pinnacle of achievement in mystery writing and was established to acknowledge important contributions to this genre, as well as for a body of work that is both significant and of consistent high quality. Mr. Collins and Ms. Hart will receive their awards at the 71st Annual Edgar Awards Banquet, which will be held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City on Thursday, April 27, 2017.
When told of being named a Grand Master, Collins said, “To be in the company of Agatha Christie, Rex Stout, and Mickey Spillane is both thrilling and humbling. This is an honor second to none in the art of mystery and suspense fiction.”
Lifelong Muscatine resident Collins is one of the most versatile and prolific crime writers in mystery fiction. He sold his first two novels in 1972 while a student at the University of Iowa Writers Workshop. More than one hundred novels have followed, including his award-winning and groundbreaking Nathan Heller historical series, starting with True Detective (1983).
His graphic novel Road to Perdition (1998) is the basis of the Academy Award-winning 2002 film starring Tom Hanks. His other comics credits include the syndicated strip “Dick Tracy,” his own “Ms. Tree,” and “Batman.” For the hit TV series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, he wrote ten novels selling millions of copies worldwide, and his movie novels include Saving Private Ryan, Air Force One, and American Gangster. He has written seven features, directing five, including the Lifetime film Mommy. His non-fiction work includes two documentaries and a dozen books.
His innovative hitman character, Quarry, first appeared in 1976 in an ongoing series that is the basis of a current Cinemax TV drama. In 2006 he was chosen by his mentor Mickey Spillane to complete a number of Mike Hammer novels from the late MWA Grandmaster’s files. His many other series include Mallory, Nolan, Reeder & Rogers, Jack & Maggie Starr, Eliot Ness, the Disaster series, and the Trash ‘n’ Treasures mysteries, written with his wife Barbara Collins under the joint pseudonym, Barbara Allan.
Ellen Hart is the author of thirty-two crime novels. She is the four-time winner of the Minnesota Book Award for Best Popular Fiction, and the three-time winner of the Golden Crown Literary Award for mystery. Ellen has taught crime writing for seventeen years through the Loft Literary Center, the largest independent writing community in the nation.
Previous Grand Masters include Walter Mosley, Lois Duncan, James Ellroy, Robert Crais, Carolyn Hart, Ken Follett, Margaret Maron, Martha Grimes, Sara Paretsky, James Lee Burke, Sue Grafton, Bill Pronzini, Stephen King, Marcia Muller, Dick Francis, Mary Higgins Clark, Lawrence Block, P.D. James, Ellery Queen, Daphne du Maurier, Alfred Hitchcock, Graham Greene, and Agatha Christie.