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Academic Research Grants Award Recipients
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Each year, the non-profit organization awards researchers grants of up to $500 for the purchase of books to support research projects that contribute to our understanding of the role of women or underrepresented groups in the crime fiction genre. Application information and deadlines are on the main Academic Research Grants page here.


2019 Recipients


  • Ann McClellan for her project “Watson was a Woman—and Black: Claire O’Dell’s Janet Watson Chronicles.” Author Claire O’Dell’s futuristic Janet Watson series reimagines Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson as African-American and lesbian. McClellan’s study will focus on how changing both the gender and race of the iconic characters will affect readers’ perceptions of the duo and how such adaptations can potentially change our understanding of the history of a famous literary icon. McClellan is a Professor of English at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, New Hampshire who holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Cincinnati.

  • Kat Albrecht & Kaitlyn Filip for their project “The Murder Mystery and the Modern Woman,” focusing on cozy mysteries and their readership. Albrecht and Filip will explore the internal consistency of cozy mystery themes, the relatability of cozy mysteries to the average reader, and the extent to which a cozy mystery cultivates a world beyond the book with practical life tips/recipes or spinoff practical books. Albrecht is a computational social scientist and a J.D./Ph.D. candidate at Northwestern University. Filip is currently working on a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Public Culture as well as a J.D. from Northwestern, where she has taught courses in public speaking and communication studies.

  • Margot Douaihy for her project “Lesbian Hardboiled Detective Fiction Studies,” which explores lesbian and queer variations on the amateur sleuth narrative. This project also examines the social identities and political relations at play in feminist and queer sleuth novels. Douaihy will track the development of queer detective fiction as it pertains to the poetics of craft, including point of view, temporal architecture, narrative context, intertextual awareness, and structure. Douaihy is a Lecturer at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire and widely-published poet who is a Ph.D. candidate in Creative Writing with a concentration in Fiction from Lancaster University in the United Kingdom.

  • Nicole Kenley, for her project “Detecting Globalization,” which focuses on the relationship between contemporary detective fiction, globalization, and global crime. The study will include American and international authors in order to examine the extent to which the genre can mediate the challenges posed by global crime. Kenley is a Lecturer in English at Baylor University in Waco and holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Davis.


2018 Recipient


The grant recipient for 2018 was Mary Anna Evans at the University of Oklahoma. Mary Anna Evans, known for her award-winning Faye Longchamp mystery series, is an Assistant Professor of Professional Writing at the University of Oklahoma and is the recipient of this year’s grant. She is embarking on a study that will center on selected works by Agatha Christie, exploring underlying patterns in her portrayal of justice, with a particular focus on her experiences during the years when women were gaining full access to the British legal system as jurors, prosecutors, and judges. Archival research at the universities of Exeter and Reading in the UK coupled with critical examinations of a number of Christies’ mysteries will lead to several planned scholarly articles and ultimately a book tentatively titled Agatha Christie, Witness to the Evolution: Women, Justice, Crime Fiction, and the Twentieth Century.

In her grant proposal Evans wrote “by putting [Christie’s] body of work into historical context with the changes in British law and society, I will show that her writings speak both directly and indirectly to the changing legal status of women in a way that is particularly suited to her genre of choice, crime fiction. I will argue that Christie’s social commentary on the British justice system, perhaps revealing a veiled frustration and anger, is particularly evident when her characters circumvent the legal system in their efforts to shape their world into one that they perceive as just.” 

Read Mary Anna Evans’ research summary here.


2017 Recipients


Claire Meldrum at Sheridan College, Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Dr. Rebecca Mills at Bournemouth University, United Kingdom
Erin A. Smith at University of Texas at Dallas, Texas
Mary Stocklein at University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

Read the 2017 research summaries here


2016 Recipients


Kelly Ross, Assistant Professor of English at Rider University
Ann Rea, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

Read the 2016 research summaries here


2015 Recipients


Jon Blandford – Reinvestigating Domestic Detective Fiction. Blanford, an assistant professor of English at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky, is conducting research on late nineteenth-century women writers of crime fiction with a domestic focus, which will be published in a history of American crime fiction to be published by Cambridge University Press.

Ellen Burton Harrington - The Rise of the American Woman Detective: Gender and Detective
Genre in Green, Doyle, and Rinehart. An assistant professor of English at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Harrington is also contributing to the Cambridge history, with a focus on contextualizing the work of Anna Katharine Green and Mary Roberts Rinehart historically, examining how these authors influenced one another and anticipated the rise of the hard-boiled feminist detective. 

Calvin McMillan – Yellow Noir: The Asian American Detective in American Popular Culture. McMillan, who recently received his PhD in literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz and is currently teaching writing at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is working on a book project that will be the first critical analysis of literary and cinematic detective stories featuring Asian Americans. This grant will particularly support his research on a chapter on contemporary Asian-American women crime writers.

Catherine Oliver - Ordeal by Access: Issues in the Classification and Cataloging of Crime Fiction. Oliver, an assistant professor and metadata and cataloging services librarian at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan, will be examining weaknesses in the rules for cataloging fiction which particularly influence the discoverability of genres traditionally associated with women. With a goal of presenting her research at the Popular Culture Association and publishing her findings, Oliver will outline some theoretical concepts and provide practical idea to improve discovery in library catalogs. 

Read the 2015 research summaries here.


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