Though the first Bouchercon was held in 1970 and the first Anthony Awards presented in 1986, Bouchercon 2020 will be, if I’ve counted correctly, only the tenth time an Anthony has been presented for an anthology or collection.
As a contributor to three Anthony-nominated anthologies and the editor of one, it may be selfish to suggest that I wish an Anthony were awarded in this category every year.
As a voracious writer and reader of short mystery fiction, though, I think this is a great way to recognize the contributions of short-story writers and editors, and I believe their work should be honored every year. After all, crime fiction novelists have multiple opportunities to receive awards, far more than do short-story writers and editors.
The award seems to have had slightly different names over the years, and here’s a look back at past winners. The publishers of Anthony-winning anthologies/collections include both major publishers and small presses, and the editors tend to be well-known. Bouchercon’s own anthologies have won twice and, coincidentally, the only publisher to have won twice published the Bouchercon anthologies.
2018 Best Anthology—Gary Phillips, The Obama Inheritance (Three Rooms Press)
2017 Best Anthology or Collection—Greg Herren, Blood on the Bayou: Bouchercon Anthology 2016 (Down & Out)
2016 Best Anthology or Collection—Art Taylor, Murder Under the Oaks: Bouchercon Anthology 2015 (Down & Out)
2015 Best Anthology or Collection—Laurie R. King & Leslie S. Klinger, In the Company of Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon (Pegasus Crime)
2001 Best Anthology/Short-Story Collection—Lawrence Block, Master’s Choice II (Berkley)
1996 Best Short Story Collection—Marcia Muller, The McCone Files: The Complete Sharon McCone Stories (Crippen & Landru)
1995 Best Anthology/Short Story Collection—Tony Hillerman, The Mysterious West (Harper Collins)
1994 Best Anthology/Short Story Collection—Martin H. Greenberg, Mary Higgins Clark Presents Malice Domestic 2 (Pocket)
1992 Best Anthology/Short Story Collection—Sara Paretsky, A Woman’s Eye (Delacorte)
2020 NOMINEES FOR BEST ANTHOLOGY OR COLLECTION
There are five nominees for Best Anthology or Collection this year, each equally deserving. If you enjoy short stories, and if you want to read several great stories, you should order all five. Within the pages of these anthologies you will discover Agatha, Anthony, Derringer, Edgar, Macavity, and Shamus Award-nominated short stories, an Agatha Award-winning story, a Derringer Award-winning story, and at least one story selected for inclusion in The Best American Mystery Stories 2020.
So, order all five, read them closely and, when you receive your Anthony ballot this year, vote for the anthology you feel most deserving.
SIDE NOTE: SLEUTHSAYERS WELL REPRESENTED
Though Art Taylor is the only SleuthSayer to receive an Anthony for Best Anthology, Paul D. Marks co-edited the Anthony-nominated Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea (Down & Out), and Barb Goffman and I each edited an anthology nominated this year. So, SleuthSayers are well represented in this category.