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MWA Midwest member wins MWA McCloy Scholarship

Two New Mystery Writers Receive the 2017 Helen McCloy/MWA Scholarships

New York, NY- Mystery Writers of America is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2017 Helen McCloy/MWA Scholarships for Mystery Writing: Rebecca Brittenham of South Bend, Indiana and Kristal Lau of Davis, California. The winners will use their $500 scholarship awards to offset their tuition for classes, courses, or workshops held in the United States to further develop their writing skills. The purpose of this annual scholarship program is to nurture talent in mystery writing in fiction, nonfiction, playwriting, and screenwriting.

Rebecca Brittenham is a member of Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter. Past MWA Midwest winners of the McCloy Scholarship include Lori Rader-Day in 2009 and Mia Manansala, just last year.

Writers qualify for this program by submitting writing samples in the form of a mystery novel, short stories, short nonfiction pieces, a screenplay or a play script, together with information about the educational programs they plan to attend, and an essay explaining their interest in mystery writing. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Membership in Mystery Writers of America is not required, nor is any entry fee. Applicants should be unpublished in the mystery genre.

The first three chapters of Rebecca Brittenham’s Body in the Skylight and Kristal Lau’s The Hiders and Seekers each received the highest scores from this year’s panel of judges because of the quality of the writing demonstrated. In addition, both novels introduce promising characters and intriguing situations.

Ms. Brittenham’s twenty-nine year-old protagonist, a recent widow, has signed on as a “travel nanny” for a summer in Europe with a family with a young son. What she has not signed on for is fleeing across countries for her life because the wife and mother has been murdered by the husband and father who is conniving for her to take the blame. While running, she must also protect her young charge.

Kristal Lau’s novel is set far back in time in an Asian land. Her main character is the beautiful and lucky but cursed Kaiori, betrothed of the Emperor Akira, her good luck. Only days before the wedding, Akira is mysteriously assassinated, and the culprit cannot be found, her bad luck. Old laws sentence Kaiori to follow her almost-husband to the afterlife. The story begins with Kaiori primping for her wedding and her execution.

The entries were judged by the Helen McCloy Scholarship Committee: Matthew Clemens, longtime collaborator on twenty-four novels with Max Allan Collins; Sue Ann Jaffarian, author of the popular Odelia Grey and Ghost of Granny Apples mystery series; Terrie Farley Moran, Agatha award winning author of the Read ’Em and Eat cozy mystery series, and 2017 Derringer award winner for best novelette; and Radine Trees Nearing, a long-time contest judge and Macavity nominee as well as winner of the Silver Falchion at Killer Nashville. Judith Copek, writer of crime novels and short stories was chairman of this year’s Helen McCloy/MWA Scholarship Committee.

Information and official application forms for the 2018 scholarship program will be posted by July 1, 2017, on the website of Mystery Writers of America, Answers to frequently asked questions, tips for submitting, and additional information may be had by sending an email to The deadline to apply for the 2018 Helen McCloy/MWA Scholarship for Mystery Writing is February 28, 2018.


2017-06-08T10:43:04+00:00 June 8th, 2017|Public|