The MWA press release says, "Paretsky revolutionized the mystery world in 1982 with her novel Indemnity. The book introduced detective V.I. Warshawski, a female private investigator who used her wits and fists, challenging a genre in which women typically played minor or passive roles."
Good thing there's a long winter ahead before the awards, so there's time to read or re-read Paretsky's twelve best-selling Warshawski novels. (She also wrote a memoir, two stand-alone novels, and a collection of short stories. How many can we shelve between now and then?)
Paretsky's awards in the past include one from MS Magazine in 1987 for her work in founding Sisters in Crime. On the international scene she's also drawn attention: The British Crime Writers awarded Paretsky both the Cartier Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement and the Gold Dagger for best novel of 2004.
I like this part of the MWA press release especially:
"The mystery genre took a seven-league stride thanks to Sara Paretsky, whose gutsy and dauntless protagonist showed that women can be tough guys, too," said Larry Light, Executive Vice President of Mystery Writers of America. "Before, in Sara's words, women in mysteries were either vamps or victims. Her heroine, private eye V.I. Warshawski, is whip-smart and two-fisted, capable of slugging back whiskey and wrecking cars, and afire to redress social injustice."In a surprise double award, MWA also announced that two mystery bookstores receive the 2011 Raven Award that recognizes outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing: Once Upon a Crime, in Minneapolis, MN, and Centuries & Sleuths in Chicago. The Ravens also will be presented at the Edgar Award Banquet in New York City on Thursday, April 28, 2011. Gotta be there!!
Paretsky's Warshawski books:
Indeminity Only (1982)
Killing Orders (1985)
Bitter Medicine (1987)
Blood Shot (1988) (aka Toxic Shock)
Burn Marks (1990)
Guardian Angel (1992)
Tunnel Vision (1994)
Hard Time (1999)
Total Recall (2001)
Fire Sale (2005)
Body Work (2010)