Louise Penny in 2009
July 1, 1958 |
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Education||Bachelor of Applied Arts|
|Alma mater||Ryerson University|
|Notable work(s)||Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series|
Louise Penny (born 1958) is a Canadian author of mystery novels set in the Canadian province of Quebec centred on the work of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec. Penny's first career was as a radio broadcaster for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. After she turned to writing, she won numerous awards for her work, including the Agatha Award for best mystery novel of the year for four consecutive years (2007–2010) and the Anthony Award for two novels. Her novels have been published in 23 languages.
Early life and career with CBC
Penny was born in Toronto in 1958. Her mother was an avid reader of both fiction and non-fiction, with a particular liking for crime fiction, and Louise grew up reading mystery writers such as Agatha Christie, Georges Simenon, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Michael Innes.
Penny earned a Bachelor of Applied Arts (Radio and Television) from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now Ryerson University) in 1979. After graduation, at age 21, she embarked on an 18-year career as a radio host and journalist with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. At the start of her broadcasting career, Penny took postings at locations far from friends and family, and to help deal with feelings of loneliness and isolation, she increasingly turned to alcohol. At age 35, she admitted to an alcohol problem, and has been sober since. Shortly afterward, she met her future husband, Michael Whitehead, head of hematology at Montreal Children's Hospital, on a blind date.
After her marriage, Penny left the CBC to take up writing. Although she started a historical novel, she had difficulty finishing it, and eventually switched to mystery writing. She entered her first novel, Still Life, in the "Debut Dagger" competition in the United Kingdom, placing second out of 800 entries. The novel won other awards, including the "New Blood" Dagger award in the United Kingdom, the Arthur Ellis Award in Canada for best first crime novel, the Dilys Award, the Anthony Award and the Barry Award for Best First Novel in the United States.
Penny has published a further seven novels, garnering major crime novel award nominations for almost every one of her novels and subsequently winning several of those awards.
Her oeuvre features Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, head of the homicide department of the Sûreté du Québec. Although set in the province of Quebec, the novels feature many hallmarks of the British whodunit genre, including murders by unconventional means, bucolic villages, large casts of suspects, red herrings, and a dramatic disclosure of the murderer in the last few pages of the book.
In 2009, Penny helped to launch a new award for aspiring Canadian mystery writers, the Unhanged Arthur for Best Unpublished First Novel.
For several years, Penny resisted selling the TV or movie rights to her books, afraid of losing creative control of her characters. However, when approached by PDM Entertainment and Attraction Images and offered a position as executive producer during film production, she changed her mind and agreed to sell them the rights to her first two novels. Still Life went into production in the fall of 2012, with British actor Nathaniel Parker cast as Chief Inspector Gamache. The movie will air on CBC TV in 2013.
- Still Life (2005). Winner of the New Blood Dagger award in the United Kingdom, the Arthur Ellis Award in Canada for best first crime novel, the Dilys Award, the 2007 Anthony Award and the Barry Award for best first novel in the United States.
- A Fatal Grace (2007). (Alternate title: "Dead Cold")  Winner of the Agatha Award for best novel of 2007.
- The Cruelest Month (2008). Winner of the Agatha Award for best novel of 2008. Nominated for the 2009 Anthony, the Macavity and the Barry awards for best novel of 2008.
- The Murder Stone (titled A Rule Against Murder in U.S.) (2009). A New York Times bestseller and nominated for an Arthur Ellis Award in the category of best novel.
- The Brutal Telling (2009). Winner of the Agatha Award for best novel of 2009, as well as the 2010 Anthony Award for best crime novel in the U.S.
- Bury your Dead (2010). Winner of the Agatha Award for best novel of 2010, the 2011 Anthony and Macavity Award for best crime novel in the U.S., the 2011 Arthur Ellis Award best crime novel in Canada, and the 2011 Nero Award.
- The Hangman (2011). Novella
- A Trick of the Light (2011). Named one of the best crime novels of 2011 by The Globe & Mail and The New York Times.
- The Beautiful Mystery (2012)
- How the Light Gets In (2013). A New York Times #1 bestseller.
- "About Louise Penny". LouisePenny.com. 2008.
- "Louise Penny". Fantastic Fiction. 2008.
- Wagner, Vit (2010-10-15). "What led them to a life of crime". Toronto Star (Toronto ON Canada =: Torstar Inc.). Retrieved 2010-10-18.
- The Agony and the Ecstacy: 1979 RTA Yearbook. Toronto. 1979.
- "Louise Penny up for best crime novel award". CBC News. 2008-04-30.
- Yanofsky, Joel (November 2007). "Louise Penny’s second chance: How a troubled past gives her mystery novels an edge". Quill & Quire. Retrieved 2010-08-12.
- Kay, Linda. "This Trick is a Treat". Costco Connection (Ottawa, Canada: Costco Wholesale) (July/August 2012): 21.
- "Louise Penny Books". LouisePenny.com. 2008.
- "Quebec's Louise Penny shortlisted for Agatha mystery award". CBC News. 2010-02-20. Retrieved 2010-08-11.
- "Whodunit". Knowledge Rush. 2009. Retrieved 2010-08-12.
- Kelly, Brendan (2 November 2012). "Louise Penny’s detective novels get small-screen treatment from CBC-TV". Montreal Gazette (Montreal). Retrieved 3 November 2012.
- hardcover ISBN 978-0-312-35255-4, paperback ISBN 978-0-312-94855-9, audio CD ISBN 978-0-7861-7142-2, audio cassette ISBN 978-0-7861-4536-2
- hardcover ISBN 978-0-312-35256-1, paperback ISBN 978-0-312-94713-2, audio CD ISBN 978-0-7861-5928-4, audio cassette ISBN 978-0-7861-6863-7
- "Agatha Awards". Malice Domestic. 2008.
- hardcover ISBN 978-0-312-35257-8, paperback ISBN 978-0-312-94450-6, large print ISBN 978-1-4104-0716-0, audio CD ISBN 978-1-4332-3377-7, audio cassette ISBN 978-1-4332-3376-0
- hardcover ISBN 978-0-312-37702-1
- "Linwood Barclay, Louise Penny touted for best Canadian crime novel". CBC News. 2009-04-24. Retrieved 2009-04-24.
- "Louise Penny wins Agatha for best mystery". CBC News: Books. 2010-05-03. Retrieved 2010-05-18.
- "Quebec's Louise Penny 'thrilled' by 4th Agatha Award". CBC News. 2011-05-02. Retrieved 2011-05-02.
- "Louise Penny nabs crime-writing prize". CBC News. 2011-06-03. Retrieved 2011-06-03.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Louise Penny.|
- Official Website
- St. Martin's Author Profile
- Feature in SHOTS Crime & Thriller Ezine Louise Penny Tells All