Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Art of Losing

Well, I didn't win the Edgar for Best Novel of 2010. Steve Hamilton did, for an excellent book, The Lock Artist.
Munyin, me, and Bruce deSilva, about 90 minutes
before Bruce win Best First Novel

There's no point in denying a certain disappointment, even though I never thought I had a chance.  The list of Edgar finalists usually has one Huh? book on it, and I figured that I was that book.  Still, Huh? candidates do occasionally win, and it's impossible not to hope, even if it's only for the five or ten minutes before they read the nominees' names.  I'll admit that my heartbeat sped up a little when they said, "And the Edgar goes to . . ."

I sulked for the rest of the evening, skipping the post-banquet party because I didn't want to walk around smiling while people told me I should have won.  I didn't feel particularly gregarious. My wife, who had the exquisite tact not to say anything sympathetic, was all the company I wanted.

And in retrospect, I had a great time.  The event was beautifully organized.  I got to meet Sara Paretsky and Harlan Coben, and I had the pleasure of telling Steve Hamilton that his book deserved to win about an hour before it actually did.  The food was good, my table-mates were in fine form, the people from Soho were wonderful about their new writer not bringing an Edgar along, and Munyin looked sensational.

I wanted to win because of the validation the award represents, but also for a business reason; to credit HarperCollins for all they did to support the series, and to thank Soho for giving Rose and Poke a new home.  And I wanted to have a T-shirt made up that said EDGAR WINNER on the front and UNRELIABLE NARRATOR on the back.  I suppose I could still do that, actually.

It was fun, it was an honor to be there, Mun and I had a great trip, and both sets of publishers were very sweet.  We even had good weather, if you don't count a 38-block walk in the rain.

They can nominate me again any time.


  1. Indeed, Tim, they WILL nominate you again! And I'm sure you've seen how many people have posted that they felt you should win. Those aren't the same as the ones you missed at the post party!

  2. Gah. No taste these judges. Actually, they have great taste, just the wrong great taste in certain circumstances. Like this one.

  3. You look fabulous and that always counts. And you're obviously in terrific shape for a 38-block walk in NYC rain is tough even for a New Yorker, let alone a driven (as opposed to walken) LaLa'er.

    Besides, you're magnanimous, well-liked, highly respected, and still breathing. What more can one ask for...aside from getting that *&^$$% envelop to yield up the name of the one who should have won!


  4. The on;y "Huh" thing about your nomination is why you would think you were the "huh." QUEEN isn't just a great thriller. It's a great book. The scenes of Rose in her village and the ending are as artfully done as anything I've read in a long time.

  5. Thanks so much to all of you. This has brought out the kindest instincts in literally hundreds of people, many of whom I don't know at all - readers who just thought the book should win and took the time to tell me so.

    I'm really grateful for your kind words and your affection for the book. As one person who responded to my (other) site said, "You may not have won, but there's no way you lost."

    Thanks again to all of you.

  6. So do you have a photo where Munyin is not wearing a coat? I agree with the others, as I've said before, just being nominated is a pretty darned big deal; besides you are working on the next Poke, which will be even better; right? I would have been thrilled just to be in the same room with some of those people!

  7. It is a pretty amazing thing to get nominated. I'm about to lose the Stoker to Stephen King in June :D
    Your work is terrific, and this can only get a bit more visibility. Way to go.

  8. Hi, Bonnie, and no. It's hard enough to get Munyin in front of a camera -- if she had her way, she'd be wearing a cloak of invisibility.

    And I have NO IDEA whether the next Poke will be as good as/better than QUEEN. I always try, but . . .

    Harry, if you have to lose to anyone, it might as well be King. Still you'd think he'd voluntarily pull himself out of competitions by now, just to leave a little air in the room for the rest of us. And thanks for the kind words,

  9. Tim - remember that you can only once be the Huh? candidate. Next time you will be the obvious one and then you will cinch it.