January 7, 2015
Kathryn Kennison, director of the E.B. and Bertha C. Ball Center and co-founder of Magna cum Murder, has been named a 2015 Raven Award winner by the Mystery Writers of America.
“My champions always have been storytellers, so being selected by Mystery Writers of America to receive the Raven Award is more humbling and gratifying than I can begin to describe,” Kennison said. “I’m so very proud, honored and indebted to the Mystery Writers of America. ‘Thank you’ seems so inadequate, but I offer my most profound thanks.”
The Magna cum Murder weekends began 20 years ago, when Kennison and colleague Joanna Wallace, the then-associate dean of continuing education, teamed up to create the event to celebrate crime writing. Originally designed in response to alumni desires for more university-sponsored events, the pair hoped to get 65 participants and a handful of authors to sign up. Instead, 265 guests and 40 authors attended, setting the stage for future weekends which are now held in Indianapolis to accommodate the crowds.
Guests of honor at Magna have included Alexander McCall Smith, Mary Higgins Clark, Donald Westlake, Sara Paretsky, Michael Connelly, Harlan Coben, Sue Grafton, Lawrence Block, Louise Penny, Ruth Dudley Edwards, Charles Todd, Jeffrey Deaver, William Kent Krueger and John Gilstrap. It has retained its roots as a fan festival, Kennison said.
Previous Raven winners include Aunt Agatha’s Bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Oline Cogdill, Molly Weston, The Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego, Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore in Chicago, Once Upon a Crime Bookstore in Minneapolis, Mystery Lovers Bookstore in Oakmont, Pennsylvania, Kate’s Mystery Books in Cambridge, Maryland, and The Poe House in Baltimore, Maryland.