Maaza Mengiste and Alyssa Cole won in their categories at the Edgar Awards 2021 announced on Thursday, April 29, 2021.

Mystery Writers of America is the premier organization in the USA 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 the organisations 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, with several African/African American writers in the running in four categories, were announced on January 25. The award winners were revealed last night with the following getting the nods in their categories;

Best Paperback Original

  • When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)

Best Short Story

  • Dust, Ash, Flight, Addis Ababa Noir by Maaza Mengiste (Akashic Books)

Comments from winners (via Twitter)

Maaza Mengiste
Maaza Mengiste


Alyssa Cole
Alyssa Cole

When No One Is Watching won an Edgar Award!!