Friday, October 21, 2011

The Wolfe Pack's Black Orchid Banquet

NEW YORK, NY—The Wolfe Pack, an organization devoted to mystery writer Rex Stout and his most famous creation Nero Wolfe, will hold its 34th annual Black Orchid Banquet and Weekend on December 2, 3, and 4, the organization has announced. The highlight of the weekend will be the Black Orchid Banquet on Saturday, December 3, which will include the presentation of the Nero Award for the year’s best mystery novel and the Black Orchid Novella Award, presented in conjunction with Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, for the year’s best unpublished mystery novella.

December 1, 2011 will be the 125th anniversary of the birth of Rex Stout, and several members of the writer’s family will attend the banquet.

The Black Orchid Banquet will be held at the Vanderbilt Suites in New York City, and will feature television personality and mystery writer Al Roker as the keynote speaker. Roker will be introduced by mystery novelist and past Nero Award-winner Linda Fairstein. The Nero Wolfe character was famous for his love of food, and the menu for the banquet will be drawn from dishes described in Stout’s mysteries or included in The Nero Wolfe Cookbook.

The Nero Award is presented annually for literary excellence in the mystery genre. This year’s finalists are: Ice Cold by Tess Gerritsen; The Book of Spies by Gayle Lynds; Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny; The Midnight Show Murders by Al Roker & Dick Lochte; and Think of a Number by John Verdon. Previous Nero Award winners include Lee Child, Walter Mosley, Laura Lippman, and Julia Spencer-Fleming. The Black Orchid Novella Award (BONA) is presented for an unpublished novella that best celebrates the mystery traditions of the Nero Wolfe stories. The winning story is published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine.

A Full Weekend Schedule of Events
The Wolfe Pack will host a series of events for Black Orchid Weekend, including a book discussion on Friday night, a series of speakers on Saturday afternoon, a social hour prior to the banquet, and a Brunch ‘N Pun Contest on Sunday.

The Wolfe Pack schedules five book discussions per year, including one to coincide with the annual Black Orchid Weekend. These discussions work their way through the entire corpus of Nero Wolfe works in order of publication. On Friday, December 2, the Pack will lead a discussion of the novella “Christmas Party,” which was published in the collection And Four to Go. The discussion will be held in a private room at Pete’s Tavern in Manhattan, and will include a buffet dinner.

The organization’s annual Assembly will be held the afternoon of Saturday, December 3 at the Vanderbilt Suites and will feature a series of speakers on Wolfe-related themes. It will be followed by a social hour at La Fonda Del Sol prior to the start of the banquet. The weekend will conclude with a brunch on Sunday, December 4 at Pete’s Tavern; this event will include a Nero Wolfe Pun Contest.

More information about these events, including how to register, is available at The Wolfe Pack’s web site.

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