Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Outfit Collective Sends Prize Books My Way

Back in early August, The Outfit: A Collective of Chicago Crime Writers ran a mini-contest, asking for stories of corrupt towns or cities. Late last year, I had been shaken down by a town in Connecticut for property taxes (two beater cars) for a period of time after I had left the state. It seemed pretty corrupt to me. So I told the story in the 200 word maximum (Hatchetville, Connecticut--scroll down at this link), was a co-winner, and then the only one who claimed his prize: a handful of signed books from The Outfit. Noted writer Sara Paretsky organized the contest, mailed the books, and sent a nice note. At my request (or perhaps by pre-planning), she included her recent memoir/meditation, Writing in an Age of Silence. I am looking forward to reading it. Paretsky has been a strong advocate for free speech and civil liberties. I am glad that she had the chance to write and publish this book. As much as I'm a reader, writer, and fan of crime fiction, I am glad to see a writer use her success to stretch--or step out of--the genre. (It would also be fair to say that Paretsky built her success by stretching the genre.)

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