Submissions Open for Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award!


The award benefits an emerging writer of color in the crime fiction genre

 4/14/17 – Sisters in Crime (SinC) announced today that submissions open April 15, 2017 for the fourth annual Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award, which honors the memory of pioneering African-American crime fiction author Eleanor Taylor Bland with a $1,500 grant to an emerging writer of color, male or female, who has not yet published a full-length work.

 “The Eleanor Taylor Bland Award is a vital component in our efforts to strengthen the mystery community by elevating new and diverse writers,” said Sisters in Crime President Diane Vallere. “These efforts aim to broaden the appeal of the crime fiction genre by offering readers the kinds of characters, societal situations and perspectives, and potential for creativity that authors of color bring to the genre.”

 The award was created in 2014 with a bequest from Bland’s estate to support Sisters in Crime’s vision statement that the organization should serve as the voice for excellence and diversity in crime writing. The grant is intended to support the recipient in activities such as workshops, seminars, conferences and retreats, online courses, and research activities required for completion of their debut crime fiction novel or story collection. Recipients include Maria Kelson (2014), Vera H-C Chan (2015), and Stephane Dunn (2016). The deadline for submission is June 15, 2017 and the winner will be announced on or before August 1, 2017. Guidelines for submission can be found at

Eleanor Taylor Bland (1944-2010) paved the way for fresh voices in crime fiction by showcasing complex characters that had previously been peripheral to or simply missing from the genre. Dead Time (1992), the first in her series of mystery novels, introduced African-American police detective Marti MacAlister, an enduring and beloved heroine who overturned stereotypes that had been perpetuated in much of American popular culture. Bland also published several works of short crime fiction and edited the 2004 collection, Shades of Black: Crime and Mystery Stories by African-American Authors.

 Sisters in Crime (SinC) was founded in 1986 to promote the ongoing advancement, recognition and professional development of women crime writers. The initial steering committee members included crime writers Sara Paretsky, Charlotte MacLeod, Kate Mattes, Betty Francis, Dorothy Salisbury Davis, Nancy Pickard, and Susan Dunlap, who aimed to create solutions for issues of concern affecting the crime fiction community, including visibility for women crime fiction authors. Today, the organization boasts 3,600 members and 50 chapters worldwide and its initiatives, in addition to the Eleanor Taylor Bland Award, include a Dorothy Cannell Scholarship for unpublished writers, grants for academic research into the roles of women and underserved voices in crime fiction; cash awards to libraries and bookstores that support SinC authors, and surveys and monitoring projects which determine visibility and representation of women and diverse voices in the genre and across the marketplace.​