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Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award
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The Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award is an annual grant of $2,000 for an emerging writer of color.

This grant is intended to support the recipient in crime fiction writing and career development activities. The grantee may choose to use the grant for activities that include workshops, seminars, conferences, and retreats, online courses, and research activities required for completion of the work.

An unpublished writer is preferred, however publication of several pieces of short fiction and/or up to two self-published or traditionally published books will not disqualify an applicant.

You can read the complete press release here.

Requirements For Application

  • An unpublished work of crime fiction. This may be a short story or first chapter(s) of a manuscript in-progress, 2,500 to 5,000 words.
  • A resume or biographical statement.
  • A cover letter that gives a sense of the applicant as an emerging writer in the genre and briefly states how the grant money would be used. No prior writing or publishing experience is required, but the applicant should include any relevant studies or experience.
  • The submissions period is March 16, 2020 to June 8, 2020 - DEADLINE EXTENDED TO JUNE 22, 2020!

Attach an electronic copy of the three elements of the application (work, resume and cover letter -- Word or PDF format is fine) and send by email to Stephanie Gayle.

Receipt of your application will be acknowledged by email. For updates, inquiries, and additional information about the award please contact Stephanie Gayle.



About Eleanor Taylor Bland

Eleanor Taylor Bland was a pioneer in crime fiction. In 1992 her first crime novel, Dead Time, was published. It featured Marti MacAlister, an African American female police detective who works and resides in a Midwestern American town that closely resembles Bland’s own adopted home town of Waukegan, Illinois. Bland also published several works of short crime fiction and edited a collection titled Shades of Black: Crime and Mystery Stories by African-American Authors (2004). When she passed away in 2010, she was one of the most prolific African American authors in the genre. With Marti MacAlister, Bland created an enduring and much beloved heroine who went against the grain of perpetuated stereotypes related to African American women in much of U.S. popular culture.

Although Bland focused primarily on stories about African American characters and their lives, bringing both complexities and comforts of familiarity to her readership, she also included in-depth interactions with other kinds of characters that reflect the broad spectrum of identities that is U.S. society. Bland saw crime fiction as an especially accessible literary vehicle for bringing in characters that had been peripheral to or simply missing from the genre. She understood that crime fiction could continue over time broadening its appeal to new reading audiences by opening its doors to the kinds of characters, societal situations and perspectives, and potential for creativity that authors of color would bring.


About the Award

The Eleanor Taylor Bland grant is administered by Sisters in Crime, a 4000+ member international organization of mystery authors, readers, publishers, agents, booksellers and librarians. Sisters in Crime was founded by Sara Paretsky and a group of women at the 1986 Bouchercon in Baltimore. In 2014 the group declared its mission to members to “promote the ongoing advancement, recognition and professional development of women crime writers.”

After contacting the grant recipient, Sisters in Crime will make an official announcement of the award, including an article for inSinC, our quarterly newsletter. The name of the recipient of the award also will be announced during the annual Sisters in Crime breakfast at Bouchercon, the world mystery convention. The recipient need not be present at the SinC breakfast. If the recipient does wish to join us and be acknowledged in person, Sisters in Crime will pay the recipient’s conference registration for Bouchercon 2020. However, please note that all Bouchercon travel-related expenses (including air fare, hotel, and meals other than the SinC breakfast) are solely the responsibility of the recipient if she or he does decide to attend.

A report about how the award was spent must be submitted to the Sisters in Crime president one year after receipt of the award. The 2020 recipient of the award also will be expected to serve the following year as a member of the 2021 Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award selection


Eleanor Taylor Bland Award Winners

Click here to learn about past award winners.



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