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Tampa Bay authors Lisa Unger, Michael Connelly and James Swain up for mystery book awards

Unger is nominated for two Edgars. The National Book Critics Circle also announced its literary awards finalists.
Photo by Jay NolanPinellas County resident and bestselling author Lisa Unger is nominated for two 2019 Edgar Awards
Photo by Jay NolanPinellas County resident and bestselling author Lisa Unger is nominated for two 2019 Edgar Awards
Published Jan. 22, 2019

The Oscars weren't the only awards nominations announced last week. Three national book organizations announced their awards nominees on Monday and Tuesday, and three Tampa Bay area authors are among them.

Bestselling author (and Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading fan favorite) Lisa Unger is nominated for two Edgar Allan Poe Awards, which are presented annually by the Mystery Writers of America.

Unger's 16th novel, the taut psychological thriller Under My Skin, is a nominee for best paperback original. The Sleep Tight Hotel, her contribution to the Dark Corners Collection, is nominated for best short story. Unger, who lives on the Pinellas coast, says she's "over the moon" about the dual nominations.

The Edgars will be presented on April 25 in New York. Find a complete list of Edgar nominees at the MWA website.

Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine presents the Barry Awards each year at the mystery fan convention Bouchercon. This year's nominees include internationally bestselling author and Tampa resident Michael Connelly's Dark Sacred Night for best novel; on Monday,Connelly will launch a new podcast, Murder Book, that delves into real-life cold cases. Also nominated for a Barry is bestselling author and popular magician James Swain of Odessa, whose most recent book, The King Tides, is up for best thriller.

The Barry Awards ceremony will take place at the 50th annual Bouchercon in Dallas, Oct. 31-Nov. 3. Find the Barry nominees list here.

The National Book Critics Circle announced its book award finalists in six categories as well as the winners of several awards for achievement. The NBCC's Ivan Sandrof award for lifetime achievement goes to Arte Publico Press in Houston. The Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing recipient is Maureen Corrigan, book critic for NPR's Fresh Air. Selected for the John Leonard Prize for first book is Tommy Orange's powerful novel There There.

No Florida writers are among the NBCC finalists this year, but the list includes such outstanding authors as Tara Westover, Robert Christgau, Terrance Hayes (up for two categories, poetry and criticism), Rachel Kushner, Luis Alberto Urrea, Steve Coll and Lawrence Wright.

The awards will be presented on March 14 in New York. A complete list of finalists for awards in autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction and poetry is at the NBCC website.

Contact Colette Bancroft at or (727) 893-8435. Follow @colettemb.


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