Monday, November 25, 2019

The Bill Crider Prize for Short Fiction

by Paula Gail Benson

Portions of this post appeared in the November 19, 2019, post for Writers Who Kill. However, this great news deserves to be shared more than once!

I was delighted to be asked by Carol Puckett and Kendel Lynn to be the contest coordinator for the Bill Crider Prize for Short Fiction, debuting this year at the Dallas Bouchercon. The contest honored the memory of revered Texas writer and reviewer Bill Crider. Open to any writer in the world, stories had to be between 3,500 and 5,000 words and deal with the theme “Deep in the Heart.”

Jim Jackson, who was experienced working on anthologies, agreed to be the submissions coordinator, without knowing what that task might entail. Sixty-three stories were blindly submitted. Thirty-seven advanced to the second round and eleven were selected as finalists for the following prizes:

·         First Place:      $1000
·         Second Place:  $750
·         Third Place:     $500
·         Bill Crider Memorial Scholarship:      Registration to Bouchercon 2020

We were so fortunate to have excellent short story writers and editors to agree to judge the preliminary rounds. They were: Carla Coupe, Kaye George, Barb Goffman, Debra H. Goldstein, Tara Laskowski, Robert Mangeot, Karen McCullough, Warren Moore, Terrie Moran, and Beth Terrell. I cannot thank these folks enough for taking on the difficult task of determining which stories would go forward.

Janet Hutchings, editor of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, and Linda Landrigan, editor of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, graciously agreed to serve as judges for the final round.

The eleven finalists were:

“Long Overdue” by Jaap Boekestein
“Trust Me” by Douglas Dorow
“Mi Corazón, Sin Cartero, Sin Timbre de las Puerta (My Heart, Sans Postman, Sans Doorbell)” by Dixon Hill
“Resuscitation” by Ann Kellett
“Cahoots” by C.C. Guthrie
“The Texas Justice Project” by James L’Etoile
“Lambs and Wolves” by Robert Lopresti
“Death and Texas” by Lissa Marie Redmond
“Dead Armadillos Don’t Dance” by Kari Wainwright
“The Last Man in Lafarge” by Joseph S. Walker
“Armadillo by Morning” by Stacy Woodson

And, the top four prizes were awarded to:

·         First Place:      Joseph S. Walker
·         Second Place:  Jaap Boekestein
·         Third Place:     Douglas Dorow
·         Bill Crider Memorial Scholarship:      Dixon Hill

We were delighted to have three of the four prize winners (Joseph S. Walker, Douglas Dorow, and Dixon Hill) at the ceremony hosted by Hank Phillippi Ryan. In addition, a number of the participants and judges attended and we took a “class” photo.


Although publication was not part of the prize for this contest, I firmly believe you’ll be seeing these stories and their authors’ names in print. So, be watching for them.

Following Bouchercon, Joseph S. Walker attended New England Crime Bake, where he was honored with the Al Blanchard award. Way to go, Joe!

Many thanks to all who participated as entrants, judges, and planners of this contest. I hope it might be a tradition that continues to other Bouchercons.

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