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Columbia writer wins national crime fiction award

Yasmin McClinton of Columbia will receive a grant from Sisters in Crime for her novel-in-progress
Credit: Sisters in Crime

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Columbia’s Yasmin McClinton was named the 2020 winner of the annual Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award by Sisters in Crime (SinC). 

McClinton’s novel-in-progress was selected by a panel of judges that included bestselling authors Rachel Howzell Hall (Detective Elouise Norton novels), Alex Segura (Pete Fernandez Mystery series), and 2019’s winner Jessica Martinez.

The award benefits emerging writers of color in the crime fiction genre with a $2,000 grant honoring the memory of pioneering African American crime fiction author Eleanor Taylor Bland. The grant is intended to be used help the recipient complete a debut or early-career work of crime fiction. Past winners include Maria Kelson (2014), Vera H-C Chan (2015), Stephane Dunn (2016), Jessica Ellis Laine (2017) and Mia P. Manansala (2018).

In a SinC press release, McClinton said, “Authors like Ms. Bland show me that women of color—writers of color—can be authors in any genre they want and really bridge gaps. I shared with my daughters that I won this award. My daughters have been with me through the hardest times of my life. And I wanted to show them that their overly protective, annoying mom has dreams from her childhood coming true, even today. And, she can be chosen for prestigious awards like the Sisters in Crime Eleanor Taylor Bland award. So, Girls, no giving up. Ever!”

Five runners-up – Christina Dotson (Nashville, TN), Tony Hernandez (Phoenix, AZ), Robert Justice (Denver, CO), Raquel V. Reyes (Miami, FL) and Manju Soni (Mystic, CT) -- will receive funded memberships to SinC.

Bland (1944-2010) introduced African American police detective Marti McAlister in the first of her series of novels, Dead Time, in 1992, published several works of short crime fiction and edited the 2004 collection of Shades of Black: Crime and Mystery Stories by African American Authors.

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