Ellen Hart. Star Tribune file photo by Jeff Wheeler

Ellen Hart. Star Tribune file photo by Jeff Wheeler

Minneapolis mystery writer Ellen Hart has been awarded the Grand Master Award, a lifetime achievement award from the Mystery Writers of America. She and the other Grand Master winner, Max Allan Collins, will receive their awards in New York on April 27 at the Mystery Writers of America annual convention.

The Grand Master Award "represents the pinnacle of achievement in mystery writing and was established to acknowledge important contributions to this genre, as well as for a body of work that is both significant and of consistent high quality," the MWA said in a press release.

Hart, author of the Jane Lawless series, has written 32 mysteries and has won many awards, including the Lambda Literary Award for best lesbian mysteries (she has won this six times), a Minnesota Book Award (four times), and the Golden Crown Literary Award for mystery (three times).

She has been a long-time teacher at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. Her next novel, "Fever in the Dark," will be published in late January.

"It’s all pretty stunning at the moment," Hart said Wednesday. "I’m not sure any author really believes she belongs on that list. But I’m thrilled and so incredibly honored." 

Previous Grand Masters include Walter Moseley, Agatha Christie, P.D. James and Ellery Queen.

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