bring me the head of edgar allan poe

I want his head. I want to put it…where should I put Edgar Allan Poe’s head? The mantle is traditional, I suppose. It would probably look silly in the kitchen, next to the coffee maker or on top of the refrigerator. I don’t have to decide now; there’s probably plenty of time to figure that out.

But I want his head. I’m not entirely sure I deserve it, but I won it, fair and square. Really. Last night I won the 2023 Edgar Allan Poe award for Best Short Story. There are probably a lot of benefits that come with winning the award, but the one that has me most excited is Edgar’s head. You get (or at least I’m reliably informed you get) a small bust of Poe’s noggin. How cool is that? Very cool, is how cool.

I was curious about the actual size of Edgar’s head (that statuette’s head, not his actual head), so I googled it. And right there, first page, was a photo of Stephen Goddamn King with an Edgar in his hands. So, not exactly life-size (again, I’m talking about Edgar’s head, not Stephen King’s, which I’m pretty confident is life-size), but still.

Look at that, Stephen Goddamn King

Winning an Edgar is really a rather big deal, at least in the world of mystery and detective fiction. There’s a large, enthusiastic, deeply engaged community of folks who love mystery and detective fiction. Writers, would-be writers, fans–they create and join book clubs, reading groups, fan clubs, professional organizations. Groups like the Mystery Writers of America (who sponsor the Edgar awards), Sisters in Crime, and the Private Eye Writers of America–groups that feed and nurture that community. These groups are invaluable.

The thing is, though, I’m not really an active part of that community. I have a lot of respect for it; I’m terribly glad it exists and I benefit from its existence. But aside from writing detective stories, I haven’t contributed to it. I’m just not a joiner. I’m not even a member of MWA, but nevertheless they’re still generously offering me Edgar Allan Poe’s head. That makes me seem a tad ungrateful and vaguely misanthropic, although I’m not. In fact, I’m very grateful and I’m pretty damned anthropic.

At the risk of sounding immodest, I’m a pretty good writer. But there are a LOT of pretty good writers out there (including all the other nominees for Best Short Story). The thing is (in case you were wondering what the thing is), pretty good writers are nothing without a venue for good writing. And I’ve been lucky enough to be associated with two of the best magazines for mystery and detective fiction.

Alfred Hitchcock’s and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazines are two separate, independent magazines owned by the same publishing corporation. They are incredibly welcoming to writers, especially new writers. Without them, I’d just be an odd guy sitting in a room making shit up and putting words in a row.

If you have any aspiration to write short mystery or detective fiction, I encourage you to submit your work to either of these magazines. They may not buy your work, but they’ll treat you right. And hey, you might just get a shot at collecting Edgar Allan Poe’s head.

10 thoughts on “bring me the head of edgar allan poe

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.