2017 John Seigenthaler
Legends Award Winner
Max Allan Collins
“The John Seigenthaler Award is not about what you write; it’s about making it right for writers.”
– Clay Stafford, Founder of Killer Nashville
Max Allan Collins is the recipient of the 2017 Killer Nashville John Seigenthaler Legends Award. He has earned an unprecedented twenty-two Private Eye Writers of America “Shamus” nominations, winning twice for best novel and once for best short story. In 2007 he received the Eye, the PWA life achievement award, and in 2012 his Nathan Heller saga was honored with the PWA “Hammer” award for its major contribution to the private eye genre.
His graphic novel Road to Perdition (1998), illustrated by Richard Piers Rayner, became the Academy Award-winning Tom Hanks film, and his innovative “Quarry” novels is the basis of a current Cinemax TV series. He has completed a number of “Mike Hammer” novels begun by the late Mickey Spillane, most recently A Will to Kill, and his full-cast Hammer audio novel, The Little Death (with Stacy Keach), won a 2011 Audie.
Collins has written and directed four feature films, including the Lifetime movie “Mommy” (1996), as well as two documentaries, including “Mike Hammer’s Mickey Spillane” (1998), which appears on the Criterion Collection’s “Kiss Me Deadly.” His many comics credits include the syndicated strip “Dick Tracy”; “Batman”; and “Ms. Tree” and “Wild Dog,” co-created with artist Terry Beatty. His movie novels include Saving Private Ryan, Air Force One, and American Gangster (IAMTW Best Novel “Scribe” Award, 2008).
Collins lives in Muscatine, Iowa, with his wife, writer Barbara Collins; as “Barbara Allan,” they have collaborated on thirteen novels, notably the successful “Trash ‘n’ Treasures” mysteries, including Antiques Flee Market (2008) winner of the Romantic Times Best Humorous Mystery Novel award in 2009. Their son Nathan is a Japanese-to-English translator, working on video games, manga and novels.
Each year, the Killer Nashville John Seigenthaler Legends Award is bestowed upon an individual within the publishing industry who, like its namesake, devoted his or her life to championing First Amendment Rights, being an advocate of truth, mentoring the next generation of writers and inspiring others to dig deeper and share the truth, whether it be in fiction or nonfiction.
John Seigenthaler was the publisher and chairman of The Tennessean, founding editorial director of USA Today, president of American Society of Newspaper Editors, acknowledged for “courage in publishing,” an Air Force veteran, police beat reporter, Defender of First Amendment rights, and Founder of First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University.
Seigenthaler was a champion of civil rights. He rooted out FBI informants within his own newspaper and became a victim of a smear campaign orchestrated by the FBI. He also exposed corruption by taking on such individuals and organizations as the Teamsters and Jimmy Hoffa.
Like its namesake, the Killer Nashville John Seigenthaler Legends Award is bestowed upon:
- Someone involved in some aspect of publishing who devotes his/her life to making a difference
- A champion of First Amendment Rights
- An advocate for truth
- A person who dares to take chances and lives his/her life with integrity
- A mentor who selflessly helps the next generation of writers
- A dreamer who seeks to leave the world a better place
- An inspiration to motivate others to dig deeper, share the truth, whether it be in fiction or nonfiction
This is not a lifetime achievement award – for we expect much more of these individuals in years to come – but rather an acknowledgement of their work and causes thus far.
It is not a popularity contest. These people are not always popular.
This person does not have to be a bestseller. He/she does not have to be a household name.
John Seigenthaler’s involvement with Killer Nashville came through his social association with Killer Nashville founder Clay Stafford. When Clay shared with John what he wanted to build with Killer Nashville back in 2006, John gave his support, made introductions, and shared advice.
For years and in turn, John welcomed the authors who came to Killer Nashville on his PBS television series “A Word on Words.” Seigenthaler passed away July 11, 2014, leaving the rest of us to champion the causes he so loved.