Guns, Gams & Gumshoes

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Private Eye Writers of America: Submissions Open for 2020 Shamus Awards

Posted by Writing PIs on December 14, 2019

Private Eye Writers of America Are Now Accepting Submissions for 2020 Shamus Awards

For Works First Published in the U.S. in 2019

Following are the guidelines and categories for the Private Eye Writers of America 2020 Shamus Awards for private eye novels and short stories, which must have a 2019 copyright in the United States. The Shamus Awards will be presented in the fall of 2020.


Submissions must be postmarked by March 31, 2020. No extensions will be given.


Eligible works must feature as a main character a person paid for investigative work but not employed for that work by a unit of government. These include licensed private investigators, lawyers and reporters who do their own investigations, and others who function as hired private agents.

Main characters who do not fit the description of a PI include law enforcement officers; coroner office investigators; other government employees; and amateur, uncompensated sleuths (as in cozy mysteries).

Independently published books (indies) may be submitted to the Best Original Paperback P.I. Novel category.


Please send one copy of each eligible work to all members of the appropriate committee. Do not submit a book or short story to more than one committee.

Application Fee

There is no application fee and no submission form—a simple cover letter will suffice. Be sure to add your contact information (email address, phone number). Any questions, please e-mail Gay Toltl Kinman at before submitting.


BEST HARDCOVER P.I. NOVEL: A book-length work of fiction published in hardcover in 2019 that is not the author’s first published P.I. novel.

BEST FIRST P.I. NOVEL: A book-length work of fiction, in hardcover or paperback, first published in 2019 and that is the author’s first published novel featuring a private investigator as a main character.

BEST ORIGINAL PAPERBACK P.I. NOVEL: A book-length work of fiction first published as a paperback original in 2019 that is not the author’s first P.I. novel. Paperback reprints of previously published novels are not eligible.

BEST P.I. SHORT STORY: A work of fiction of 20,000 words or fewer.  Stories first published in an earlier year and reprinted in a magazine, anthology or collection in 2019 are not eligible.

2020 Shamus Awards Committees


Chair: John Wessel, 9506 Park Manor Lane, Unit 302, Blue Ash  OH 45242

John Hegenberger, 6487 Ethan Dr., Reynoldsburg  OH 43068

Mary Keliikoa, 21000 NW 67th Avenue, Ridgefield WA 98642


Chair: Stephen Rogers, POB 286, Buzzards Bay  MA 02532

Michael Pool, 950 Carr St., Lakewood  CO 90214

Virginia Welker, 40617 Stetson Ave., Hemet  CA 92544


Chair: Matt Coyle, 3939 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., San Diego  CA 92117

Michael Bracken, 1213 South Haven, Hewitt TX 76643

Kristen Lepionka, 73 East Granville Road, Worthington  OH 43085


Chair:  Colleen Collins, 2255 Sheridan Blvd., Unit C #293, Edgewater  CO  80214

Matt Goldman, 6333 Warren Ave S, Edina  MN 55349

Alan Orloff, 11906 Paradise Lane, Herndon  VA 20171


Please do not copy or otherwise use any graphic images in this post. All images have been licensed by Colleen Collins, who does not have the legal authority to share with others.

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