The Crime Writers’ Association has awarded its Cartier Diamond Dagger for 2006 to the highly respected American novelist, Elmore Leonard.
Elmore Leonard already holds the title of Grand Master from the Mystery Writers of America. He has been dubbed ‘a literary genius’ by The Times and described as ‘the greatest crime writer of our time’ by The New York Times. Many of his novels have been made into films, including Valdez is Coming, Get Shorty, Out of Sight, and Rum Punch (as Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown).
After wartime service in the Navy, Elmore Leonard began his creative career as an advertising copywriter, then started writing western stories for pulp magazines in the 1950s, to great success. He followed these with novels such as The Bounty Hunters (1953) and screenplays such as Three Ten To Yuma (1957).
Elmore Leonard turned to crime fiction in the 1960s and his stature has continued to grow in the following decades, with more than three dozen successful novels to his name. The latest of these, The Hot Kid, will be published in Phoenix paperback in May 2006, alongside his new hardback, The Complete Western Stories, which is out from Weidenfeld & Nicolson in the same month. Elmore Leonard lives in Bloomfield Village, Michigan, with his wife, Christine.
Elmore Leonard made a rare visit to London on Wednesday May 10 2006 for the presentation of the Diamond Dagger. He said of this award: “This is great news, by far the best kind of achievement award, to be recognised by fellow writers for the one thing I have ever wanted to do in my life, tell stories, what I’ve been doing for the past 55 years. I see the Diamond Dagger giving me a boost of energy, telling me to make the book I’m writing now the best one yet.”
The presentation was made by Monsieur Arnaud Bamberger of Cartier, and took place at a reception at the Savoy Hotel.
Elmore Leonard wins the Cartier Diamond Dagger in this its twenty-first year. It has been awarded annually, to mark a lifetime’s achievement in crime writing, since 1986, when the first winner was Eric Ambler. Subsequent recipients have been P.D. James, John le Carré, Dick Francis, Julian Symons, Ruth Rendell, Leslie Charteris, Ellis Peters, Michael Gilbert, Reginald Hill, H.R.F. Keating, Colin Dexter, Ed McBain, Margaret Yorke, Peter Lovesey, Lionel Davidson, Sara Paretsky, Robert Barnard and Lawrence Block. Last year’s winner was the Scottish writer, Ian Rankin.