Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine was launched in the fall of 1941 by Lawrence E. Spivak of The Mercury Press (who subsequently founded and hosted the popular TV show Meet the Press). It was heralded as the brainchild of Ellery Queen himself, really the two-cousin writing team of Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee. Even in the early years, however, Frederic Dannay assumed primary responsibility for the magazine, serving as its editor-in-chief from 1941 until his death in 1982.
In 1941, Dannay explained his manifesto for Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine as being to "raise the sights of mystery writers generally to a genuine literary form," to "encourage good writing among our colleagues by offering a practical market not otherwise available," and to "develop new writers seeking expression in the genre." In pursuit of the first goal — to raise mystery writing to a respected literary form — he set about finding and publishing stories with elements of crime or mystery by great literary figures past and present. The result was the inclusion of more than forty Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners in EQMM — Rudyard Kipling, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Norman Mailer, and Alice Walker among them.
Although Dannay's gathering of literary giants set a high standard for writers seeking to appear in EQMM, the magazine has always sought out and supported new as well as established authors. EQMM's list of contributors is a veritable honor roll of mystery and suspense fiction's top writers, several of whom — like Nancy Pickard, Harry Kemelman, and Jack Finney — received their start in the pages of EQMM. Our Department of First Stories has premiered more than 700 aspiring writers.
The Ellery Queen tradition of literary excellence and top-notch crime and detective writing continues today. The Readers Encyclopedia of American Literature calls Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine "the finest periodical of its kind." Thanks to its many gifted contributors, EQMM remains where it has always been, on the cutting edge of crime and mystery fiction, offering readers the very best stories being written in the genre anywhere in the world.
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