Guests of Honor
Elizabeth George is an American author of mystery novels set in Great Britain. Her multi-layered novels feature Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley (Lord Ashterton of noble birth) from Scotland Yard and his partner, Detective Sargeant Barbara Havers, who is of a working class background.
She has won the Anthony Award, the Agatha Award, and France's Le Grand Prix de Literature Policiere for her novel, A Great Deliverance. She has also been awarded Germany's MIMI for her novel, Well Schooled in Murder. Most of her novels have been adapted to film and been broadcast in the U.S. on PBS's MYSTERY.
Professionally, Elizabeth George started out as a teacher at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana. While there, she became involved with organized labor. She, along with ten other teachers, was fired for union activity. She moved on to El Toro High School in El Toro, California (now called Lake Forest, California), where she remained for the rest of her career as a high school English teacher. While employed there, she was selected Orange County Teacher of the Year, a tribute in part to the work she had done with remedial students. She left education after thirteen and a half years when she sold her first novel, A Great Deliverance.
Distinguished Contribution to the Genre
Doctor and author Robin Cook is widely credited with introducing the word "medical" to the thriller genre, and thirty-three years after the publication of his breakthrough novel, Coma, he continues to dominate the category he created. Cook has successfully combined medical fact with fantasy to produce a succession of twenty-eight New York Times bestsellers that have been translated into over forty languages. They include Outbreak, Vital Signs, Terminal, Toxin, Foreign Body, Intervention and his latest novel CURE. Cook's forthcoming novel, Death Benefit, is due out in December of this year.
In each of his novels, Robin Cook explores various ethical issues involved in modern medicine. Dr. Cook says he chose to write thrillers as a way to use entertainment as a method of exposing the public to public policy conundrums such as genetic engineering, medical economics, in vitro fertilization, research funding, managed care, drug research, organ transplantation, stem cell research, concierge medicine, and M.D. owned specialty hospitals.
There have been numerous theatrical movies, television movies, and mini-series made from Robin Cook's work. In addition to the successful feature film Coma, which came out in 1978, Harmful Intent, Mortal Fear, Outbreak, Terminal, Invasion, and Acceptable Risk, have all been adapted for television.
Cook is a graduate of Wesleyan University and Columbia University School of Medicine. He divides his time between homes in Boston, Massachusetts and Naples, Florida.
Mary Higgins Clark
Lifetime Achievement Award
Mary Higgins Clark has been called the "Queen of Suspense" and it is easy to see why her books are world-wide bestsellers. In the U.S. alone, her books have sold over 100 million copies.
Her latest suspense novel, I'll Walk Alone, was published by Simon & Schuster in April 2011. She is the author of twenty-nine previous suspense novels, three collections of short stories, an historical novel, a memoir, and a children's book. She is co-author, with her daughter Carol Higgins Clark, of five suspense novels. Two of her novels were made into feature films, and many of her other works into television films.
Mary had her first story published in 1956. As a young widow with five children she wrote radio scripts to help pay the bills until her agent encouraged her to try her hand at writing novels. Her first suspense novel, Where Are the Children?, was published in 1975 and was an instant bestseller.
Mary Higgins Clark was chosen by the Mystery Writers of America as Grand Master in 2000. An annual Mary Higgins Clark Award, to be given authors of suspense fiction writing the Mary Higgins Clark tradition, is awarded by The Mystery Writers of America. She is a past president of Mystery Writers of America and served on their Board of Directors. She has won many awards and honors, including the International Mystery Writers' "First Lady of Mystery" Award in 2008. She is an active advocate and participant in literacy programs.
Special Cleveland Guest
Les Roberts has been voted "Cleveland's Favorite Author" by Cleveland.com for his Milan Jacovich series which are set in his adopted hometown of Cleveland. Milan, a Slovenian-American, ex-cop, Vietnam veteran, and former Kent State football player, is a private investigator with a master's degree, a taste for kielbasa sandwiches and Stroh's beer, and a knack for finding trouble. The 15th and latest title in the series is The Cleveland Creep.
The past president of both the Private Eye Writers of America and the American Crime Writer's League, Mr. Roberts came to mystery writing after a 24-year career in Hollywood where he had written or produced more than 2500 half hour segments of network and syndicated television. He was the first producer and head writer of the Hollywood Squares and wrote for the Andy Griffith Show, the Jackie Gleason Show, the Man from U.N.C.L.E., and The Lucy Show among others. At various times he has been a professional actor, a singer, a jazz musician, and a teacher.
In 1986 he won the very first "Best First Private Eye Novel Contest" for An Infinite Number of Monkeys. Roberts is a regular mystery book critic for The Plain Dealer. In 2003 he received the Sherwood Anderson Literary Award.
Doris Ann Norris
Doris Ann Norris, our Fan Guest of Honor, describes herself as the 2000-year-old librarian, recalling memories of chiseling classification numbers on stone, sending interlibrary loan requests by carrier pigeons and smoke signals. A trifle exaggeration to be sure, but when she started her career in public librarianship, the collection was limited to books, magazines, and pamphlets.
Ms. Norris attended her first Bouchercon in Philadelphia in 1998 and has attended each year since then. She also regularly attends Malice Domestic, Mayhem in the Midlands and Left Coast Crime conferences. Ms. Norris served on the Sisters in Crime Board as Library Liaison for five years and still can be found at the Sisters in Crime booth at the annual ALA convention as well as the biennial Public Library Association conference. She finds nothing is as enjoyable as being around librarians, mystery fans and mystery authors.
A life-long Buckeye, Doris Ann grew up in Fostoria, Ohio. She started as a page in high school at the public library in her hometown. After graduating from college, she taught high school for two years before attending the University of Michigan to earn a MS in Library Science. She retired as director of the Fostoria library in 2002, but spent the next few years substituting at the Tiffin and Fremont libraries.
John Connolly worked as a journalist, a barman, a local government official, a waiter and a dogsbody at Harrods department store before publishing his first novel, Every Dead Thing, in 1999. Published to critical acclaim, the novel went on to win the 2000 Shamus Award. The novel introduced anti-hero, Charlie Parker, a former police officer hunting the killer of his wife and daughter. Parker has appeared in eight subsequent novels; the tenth, The Burning Soul, will be published worldwide in September 2011.
Connolly is also the author of Bad Men (2003); Nocturnes, a collection of novellas and short stories; and The Book of Lost Things (2006). His first novel for young adults, The Gates, was published in 2009. The sequel will be published as The Infernals in the U.S. and Canada in October 2011. His short story "The New Daughter," published in Nocturnes, became a 2009 movie of the same name, directed by Luis Berdejo and starring Kevin Costner. John also hosts a weekly radio show, "ABC to XTC," celebrating the punk, post-punk and synth music of the 1980s, on the Internet station RTE 2XM.
John Connolly is based in Dublin but divides his time between his native city and the United States, where most of his work is set.