New York, NY: Mystery Writers of America (MWA) has announced that the organization will name James Lee Burke and Sue Grafton its 2009 Grand Masters, in honor of the Bicentennial of Edgar Allan Poe's birth next year. Not since 1978 has the organization presented dual Grand Masters.

Mystery Writers of America names James Lee Burke and Sue Grafton recipients of the 2009 Grand Master Award

MWA's Grand Master Award represents the pinnacle of achievement in the mystery genre and was established to acknowledge important contributions to the genre, as well as significant output of consistently high-quality material. The awards will be presented at the 63rd Annual Edgar® Awards banquet on Thursday April 30, 2009 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City.

According to MWA executive vice president Harry Hunsicker, the Edgar Awards -- or “Edgars,” as they are commonly known -- are named after Edgar Allan Poe, whose 200th birthday will be marked next year. "One of the great pleasures of my tenure at the helm of MWA has been informing two of the most talented writers on the planet that they have been selected as Grand Master.  As a long-time fan of both, I cannot think of two more deserving individuals.”

Says James Lee Burke: "It is a great honor to receive the Grand Master award from the Mystery Writers of America. It's an enormous compliment to my work and to me, and I feel extremely grateful and humbled by the MWA's generosity of spirit. The award will always remain as one of the greatest tributes my work could receive. Thank you for all the support the MWA has given my work over the many years."

James Lee Burke has written more than 25 novels, including 17 in his “Dave Robicheaux” series, and his short stories have appeared in countless publications. . His novel The Lost Get-Back Boogie was rejected 111 times over the course of nine years, and upon publication was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Burke has been the recipient of the Breadloaf and Guggenheim Fellowship, and two of his titles, Heaven’s Prisoners and Two for Texas have been made into motion pictures. He has won the Edgar® award twice in the category of “Best Novel”, placing him in a rare group of multiple winners.

Previous MWA Grand Masters include Bill Pronzini, Stephen King, Ira Levin, Mary Higgins Clark, Donald Westlake, Lawrence Block, P.D. James, Ellery Queen, Daphne du Maurier, Alfred Hitchcock, Graham Greene, and Agatha Christie.

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