Nnedi Okorafor, Maaza Mengiste, Kwei Quartey, Elisabeth Thomas, and Alyssa Cole are finalists of the Edgar Awards 2021 announced on January 25, 2021.

Mystery Writers of America is the premier organization for mystery writers, professionals allied to the crime-writing field, aspiring crime writers, and those who are devoted to the genre. It is dedicated to promoting higher regard for crime writing and recognition and respect for those who write within the genre. One of its most important activities is the Edgar Allan Poe Awards, popularly called the Edgars, presented every year for the last 74 years. The awards, named after late American writer Edgar Allan Poe, honour the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction, television, film, and theater published or produced in the previous year.

The finalists for 2021 were announced on January 25 and there are African/African American writers in the running in the following categories. They have been highlighted in bold;

Best Novel

Kwei Quartey
Kwei Quartey
  • Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara (Penguin Random House – Random House)
  • Before She Was Helen by Caroline B. Cooney (Poisoned Pen Press)
  • Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (Penguin Random House – Pamela Dorman Books)
  • These Women by Ivy Pochoda (HarperCollins Publishers – Ecco)
  • The Missing American by Kwei Quartey (Soho Press – Soho Crime)
  • The Distant Dead by Heather Young (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)

Best First Novel

Elisabeth Thomas
Elisabeth Thomas
  • Murder in Old Bombay by Nev March (Minotaur Books)
  • Please See Us by Caitlin Mullen (Simon & Schuster – Gallery Books)
  • Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
  • Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden (HarperCollins Publishers – Ecco)
  • Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel (Penguin Random House – Berkley)

Best Paperback Original

Alyssa Cole
Alyssa Cole
  • When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
  • The Deep, Deep Snow by Brian Freeman (Blackstone Publishing)
  • Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer)
  • The Keeper by Jessica Moor (Penguin Random House – Penguin Books)
  • East of Hounslow by Khurrum Rahman (HarperCollins Publishers – Harper 360)

Best Short Story

Maaza Mengiste
Maaza Mengiste
  • The Summer Uncle Cat Came to Stay, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Leslie Elman (Dell Magazines)
  • Dust, Ash, Flight, Addis Ababa Noir by Maaza Mengiste (Akashic Books)
  • Etta at the End of the World, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by Joseph S. Walker (Dell Magazines)
  • The Twenty-Five Year Engagement, In League with Sherlock Holmes by James W. Ziskin (Pegasus Books – Pegasus Crime)

Best Juvenile

Nnedi Okorafor
Nnedi Okorafor
  • Premeditated Myrtle by Elizabeth C. Bunce (Workman Publishing – Algonquin Young Readers)
  • Me and Banksy by Tanya Lloyd Kyi (Penguin Random House Canada – Puffin Canada)
  • From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks (HarperCollins Children’s Books – Katherine Tegen Books)
  • Ikenga by Nnedi Okorafor (Penguin Young Readers – Viking BFYR)
  • Nessie Quest by Melissa Savage (Random House Children’s Books – Crown BFYR)
  • Coop Knows the Scoop by Taryn Souders (Sourcebooks Young Readers)

The 75th Annual Edgar Awards will be celebrated on April 29, 2021.