I am honoured to be able to report that the Popular Culture Association of the United States has awarded me this year's George N. Dove award. The PCA has been in existence for more than half a century, but I imagine that some British readers will be unfamiliar with it, so this is its stated mission: 'to promote the study of popular culture throughout the world through the establishment and promotion of conferences, publications, and discussion. The PCA actively tries to identify and recruit new areas of scholarly exploration and to be open to new and innovative ideas. PCA is both inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary. Finally, the PCA believes all scholars should be treated with dignity and respect.'
As for the award, bestowed for 'outstanding contributions to the serious study of mystery, detective, and crime fiction', is named after George N. Dove. He was a past president of the Popular Culture Association, and author of outstanding books on detective fiction. I have some of them in my possession and two of them feature in the select bibliography of The Life of Crime.
Naturally, most of the previous winners have been Americans, and they include such luminaries as Professor Doug Greene and Janet Rudolph of Mystery Readers International. Among the British winners have been P.D. James, H.R.F. Keating, and Julian Symons. Suffice to say that I am proud to be in such company.
It is always a great honour to have one's writing recognised and to be appreciated by such a notable American organisation gives me a special thrill. The detailed nominations made wonderful reading - a marvellous boost to morale and hugely motivating. Onward and upward!