Thursday, June 9, 2022


Sisters in Crime (SinC) announced today that the 2022 winner of the annual Eleanor Taylor Bland Emerging Crime Fiction Writer of Color Award is Shizuka Otake of Jackson Heights, NY. Her submission, Murder in Tokyo, is a story of a Japanese American teen’s life which is shattered when her boyfriend is arrested as the prime suspect in a classmate’s murder. “I lived in Tokyo as an adult and found it painful to be viewed as different,” said Otake. “I expected to fit in and wondered how much harder that experience would have been if I was a vulnerable teen.” 

Established in 2014, The Eleanor Taylor Bland Award is strongly aligned with SinC’s mission to promote the ongoing advancement, recognition and professional development of current and prospective members and intends to support a recipient at the beginning of their crime writing career. The grantee may choose to apply the grant toward workshops, seminars, conferences, retreats, online courses and research activities to assist in completion of their work. Otake’s story was selected from several submissions by 2022 judges D.Ann Williams, Sujata Massey and Wanda Morris. 

“I’m thrilled and honored to be recognized by Sisters in Crime,” said Otake. “With this generous grant, I plan to either visit Japan to do more research for my manuscript or attend a mystery writing class at Moniack Mhor in Scotland.” 

In addition to Otake’s 2022 achievement, Sisters in Crime has also awarded five runners-up with a year-long membership to the organization. Recipients include Danielle Arceneaux (Brooklyn, NY), Amber Boothe (Crowthorne, England), Jennifer K. Morita (Sacramento, CA), Valerie Kemp (Ann Arbor, MI), and Kathy A. Norris (Los Angeles, CA). 

Eleanor Taylor Bland (1944-2010) paved the way for fresh voices in crime fiction by showcasing complex characters that had previously been peripheral to or simply missing from the genre. Dead Time (1992), the first in her series of novels, introduced African-American police detective Marti MacAlister, an enduring and beloved heroine who overturned stereotypes that had been perpetuated in much of American popular culture. Bland also published more than 50 works of short crime fiction and edited the 2004 collection, Shades of Black: Crime and Mystery Stories by African-American Authors. 

Sisters in Crime (SinC) was founded in 1986 to promote the ongoing advancement, recognition and professional development of women crime writers. Today, the organization boasts 4,000 members and 59 chapters worldwide and its initiatives also include other scholarships, grants for academic research into the roles of women and underserved voices in crime fiction; cash awards to libraries and bookstores; and surveys and monitoring projects which determine visibility and representation of women and diverse voices in the genre and across the marketplace.

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