Oline H. Cogdill

As we all deal with the pandemic and how it is affecting our daily lives, 2020 also will be the year in which we also will not be attending some of our favorite conferences and gatherings.

The Mystery Writers of America's 75th anniversary of the Edgar Awards Symposium and Banquet had to be canceled.

Malice Domestic also was canceled.

While Left Coast Crime began—barely—in March, it was closed by the city of San Diego Thursday afternoon, pretty much between panels.

Now the International Thrillers Writers (ITW) is forced to cancel its annual ThrillerFest, which was scheduled to be held in July.

In a statement, ITW stated: “The health and safety of our attendees is our absolute priority, and because of the current health risks in New York City, we’re deeply saddened to announce that ITW is canceling ThrillerFest 2020. We will be providing full refunds to everyone, and you will receive those funds in approximately two weeks, as soon as Cvent (our registration provider) can process our request. We look forward to seeing everyone next year, when ThrillerFest will return in July 2021. Remember, if you have booked rooms for the conference at the Hyatt or any other hotel, be sure to cancel your reservations.”

VIRTUAL THRILLERFEST 2020 IS ONBut as with so many other events, ITW is planning an online presence for ThrillerFest:

“To help you avoid ThrillerFest withdrawal, we will be offering, in July, a virtual conference that you can enjoy from the safety of your own home. This event will include PitchFest, ConsultFest, Master Class, the Debut Author Breakfast, the Thriller Awards Presentation, and other special ThrillerFest presentations. Current registrants will have first dibs to register for these events before others are welcomed to join in the fun (if there’s still space). Details and your chance to sign up will follow soon,” ITW's statement continued.

The organizers currently are putting together the virtual panels so they will be ready for the online ThrillerFest.

Some highlights are:

FREE Debut Author Presentations
Debut authors will provide videos about themselves, with Steve Berry hosting, recorded and available on the International Thriller Writers Facebook page.

FREE ITW Author Videos
ITW authors are creating 15-20 minute videos with helpful content for aspiring writers and fans of thrillers. These videos will be available on the International Thriller Writers Facebook page.

FREE Thriller Awards Presentation
All Thriller Awards will be presented in a recorded session, with special guests and music by Daniel Palmer and Brad Parks, available on the International Thriller Writers Facebook page.

ThrillerFest also will have other events such as

Mega CraftFest & CareerFest; Price: $149
Thriller writers will discuss the craft of writing in new videos. The more than 60 conversations will feature more than 120 authors. These videos will be available on a private YouTube channel for at least six months.

Master Class & CareerFest; Price: $399
The Master Class will be held via Zoom (free download) with one instructor in a private Zoom room with up to 10 attendees. The traditional full-day class will be broken into two four-hour sessions. Eight instructors will teach, so there will be eight Zoom rooms running simultaneously. Those wishing to participate will need to submit a ten-page writing sample.

Pitching Sessions; Price: $50 per session
Virtual pitching sessions will be held via Zoom (free download) in a private Zoom room with one attendee and one agent/editor. A tech host will be there to make sure everything goes smoothly. Those interested can purchase up to seven pitching appointments and specify the top three choices from the list of available agents.

Consulting Sessions; Price: $75 per session
Consulting sessions will be held via Zoom (free download) in a private Zoom room with one attendee and one agent/editor. These consulting sessions are for writers who are not yet ready to “pitch” a completed manuscript, but would like to discuss their synopsis, their query letters, and writing samples for 10-15 minutes with agents and editors. Those interested can purchase up to five consulting appointments.

For details on these sessions, visit Virtual ThrillerFest XV.

ITW began in 2005 and the first ThrillerFest was held in June 2006 in Scottsdale, Arizona, at which the International Thriller Writers Awards were announced.

Meanwhile, here are the nominees for the 2020 ITW Thriller Awards.

The winners will be announced in a special presentation on Saturday, July 11, 2020 during “Virtual” ThrillerFest hosted by the International Thriller Writers Facebook page.

Congratulations to all the finalists.

2020 ITW THRILLER AWARDS
BEST HARDCOVER NOVEL
One Good Deed, by David Baldacci (Grand Central Publishing)
Rag and Bone, by Joe Clifford (Oceanview Publishing)
Recursion, by Blake Crouch (Crown)
They All Fall Down, by Rachel Howzell Hall (Forge Books)
The Chain, by Adrian McKinty (Mulholland Books)
Conviction, by Denise Mina (Mulholland Books)

BEST FIRST NOVEL
My Lovely Wife, by Samantha Downing (Berkley)
Miracle Creek, by Angie Kim (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
The Good Detective, by John McMahon (G.P. Putnam’s Son)
The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides (Celadon Books)
American Spy, by Lauren Wilkinson (Random House)

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL NOVEL
Girl Most Likely, by Max Allan Collins (Thomas & Mercer)
Never Look Back, by Alison Gaylin (William Morrow Paperbacks)
Jihadi Bride, by Alastair Luft (Black Rose Writing)
The Scholar, by Dervla McTiernan (Penguin Books)
The Bird Boys, by Lisa Sandlin (Cinco Puntos Press)
Such a Perfect Wife, by Kate White (Harper Paperbacks)

BEST SHORT STORY
“Turistas,” by Hector Acosta (Down & Out Books)
“Call Me Chuckles,” by Michael Cowgill (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
“The Long-Term Tenant,” by Tara Laskowski (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
“Snow Job,” by Lia Matera (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
“Fathers-in-Law,” by Twist Phelan (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)

BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL
Seven Ways to Get Rid of Harry, by Jen Conley (Down & Out Books)
Catfishing on Catnet ,by Naomi Kritzer (Tor Teen)
We Speak in Storms, by Natalie Lund (Philomel Books/Penguin Young Readers)
Patron Saints of Nothing, by Randy Ribay (Kokila/Penguin Young Readers))
Keep this to Yourself, by Tom Ryan (Albert Whitman & Company)

BEST E-BOOK ORIGINAL NOVEL
Night Man, by Brett Battles (Brett Battles)
The Deep Abiding, by Sean Black (Sean Black)
Murder Board, by Brian Shea (Severn River Publishing)
Leave No Stone, by LynDee Walker (Severn River Publishing)
Close To You by, Kerry Wilkinson (Bookouture)

(The way, book covers chosen for this column were picked randomly.)

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