2021 Al Blanchard Award


THE 2021 AL BLANCHARD AWARD will open Jan 1, 2021!

Al Blanchard was MWA-NE chapter president and a member of Sisters in Crime when he and then-president of Sisters in Crime New England Gin Mackey seized the initiative to organize a regional mystery conference for New England. He then served as co-chair for the first three New England Crime Bake conferences.

Al exemplified everything great about mystery writing. He was the grateful recipient of mentoring and advice from writers who came before him, and he was always ready to reach out to new and aspiring writers to share his experience and knowledge. He was a dedicated and prolific writer whose career was exploding at the time of his tragic death in 2004.

The New England Crime Bake Committee established the Al Blanchard Award in his memory to annually honor the best crime short story by a New England writer or with a New England setting.

The Prize

  • $100 cash award.

  • Publication in 2021’s Best New England Crime Stories anthology

  • Free admission to the Crime Bake Conference.

  • A handsome plaque.

The winner is not required to attend the conference.


    • Story must be a crime story by a New England author or have a New England setting if the author is not from New England.

    • Story must be previously unpublished (in print or electronically).

    • Story must not be more than 5,000 words in length.

    • Story may include the following genres: mystery, thriller, suspense, caper, and horror. (No torture/killing of children or animals.)


      • Deadline for submission is midnight, April 30, 2021.

      • Send your submissions to: [email protected]

      • Type “Al Blanchard Award” in subject line. (Without it, attachments will not be opened.)

      • Include your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address, as well as your story title and word count in the main body of your e-mail.

      • Send your story as an attachment in Word format, double-spaced.

      • The attachment will be coded to insure anonymity and be sent on to the judges. Therefore, your name should not appear anywhere in the attachment.

      • We will promptly acknowledge the receipt of your submission.

      • There is no entry fee.

      • Limit of two stories per person.

      • The judges will consider previously submitted stories, provided they have not been published in the meantime, and we have only seen them once before.

**The award-winning Best New England Crime Stories anthologies will now be published by Crime Spell Books under the editorship of Susan Oleksiw, Ang Pompano, and Leslie Wheeler.

Submission to the 2021 anthology, Bloodroot, is separate from submission to the Al Blanchard Award Contest with different guidelines and deadlines. Please visit www.crimespellbooks.com for more information.