Susan Straight, professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside, has won a 2008 Edgar Allan Poe Award for her short story, "The Golden Gopher."
The award was presented by the Mystery Writers of America at a banquet May 1 in New York City. "The Golden Gopher," which was published in the anthology "Los Angeles Noir," was one of five works nominated in the category of Best Short Story. More than 2,000 entries were received in 12 categories.
"Susan's winning this award - for the first mystery story she ever published - is just another indicator of her strength as a fiction writer," said Charles Whitney, chair of the UCR Department of Creative Writing. "The creative writing department has been on something of a roll recently. Students and faculty are winning awards and publishing excellent work."
Straight said she was so surprised to win that she wasn't prepared when her name was called.
"Other writers said they were shocked to win, but at the podium they pulled out speeches, and I had a few initials written on three of my fingers," she said. "For a literary writer to win this award is amazing, and since I love the mystery genre and read about 20 or 30 mystery novels a year, I am very thankful. I wrote this short story not about a blood-and-guts kind of murder, but about someone who kills another man because he can't bear to lose the woman he loves, so it's really not so much about death but about sadness."
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