2011 Magna Guest of Honor
Parnell Hall first heard about Magna cum Murder from author Joan Hess. Joan was putting together a humor panel for the inaugural Magna, "The Panel From Hell," which also featured Sharyn McCrumb, Les Roberts, and Jeff Abbot. The title was apt - before the end of the session, Parnell had been hit in the face with a lemon meringue pie and had accidently fallen off the stage. Needless to say, the panel was a huge success.
Parnell has returned every year (save one) since the first Magna, and not just because of his unforgettable presence on that first panel, but because, as he says, "Magna is the friendliest festival! I can't describe it." he continues, "You just have to experience it yourself."
As most of you already know, Ball State University's Magna cum Murder has evolved into its own community - a fond community filled with familiar faces and a lively, happy atmosphere that encourages everybody to have fun in the company of a couple hundred other like-minded people who are there for exactly the same reason you are. Nobody has been a more stalwart supporter of Magna cum Murder than Parnell; in fact, I would expect everyone would agree that Parnell Hall is a cornerstone of this festival. That's why we're so delighted to name him Magna cum Murder XVI Guest of Honor.
Throughout the weekend he will charm and welcome, as he always does, all the other readers, writers, booksellers, et al, who come to Muncie in October to celebrate the books and authors of the genre we love. Nobody appeals to a wider audience of crime and mystery fans than Parnell Hall, whose private eye series starring Stanley Hastings, cozy series starring the Puzzle Lady, and legal series with Steve Winslow, have garnered so many rave reviews from so many fans for so many years. "Writing is a lonely profession," he says. "It's great to hang out with friends who understand."
If by some unlikely chance you have not seen his YouTube videos, Google them right now! They capture his dead-on sense of humor and his profound affection and respect for the mystery crowd. At panels he is irrepressibly animated and articulate about our beloved genre, which is just one of the reasons we're always thrilled that he keeps coming back. Although he claims that he returns year after year because he's afraid of what Kathryn Kennison will do to him if he doesn't, we know that's not altogether true since he also says, "I recommend Magna cum Murder heartily to anyone who mentions it....and even to those who don't." It's the evident pleasure he takes in this community to which he has contributed so much that makes him shine so brightly.
So here's to Parnell Hall, Magna cum Murder Guest of Honor! (He says that he keeps thinking it's a typo, but it's not.) It's an honor to honor him!
|Signing in the Waldenbooks by Parnell Hall|
(Austin Lugar is a junior at Ball State majoring in Telecommunications. Check his blog: Lugarslists.blogspot.com)