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Mystery Writers' Festival Founder Gets National Award

The founder of Owensboro’s International Mystery Writers' Festival has won a national award. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

Zev Buffman is the CEO of Owensboro’s RiverPark Center and the founder of the annual International Mystery Writers' Festival. He received a Raven award [pdf] from the Mystery Writers of America for outstanding achievement for non-writers working in the mystery field. The three-year-old festival stages productions and readings of new mystery plays.Before moving to Owensboro, Buffman had produced dozens of Broadway shows and more than 100 national touring productions.Buffman says he believes this award will bring more recognition to the festival."I’ve received so many e-mails from Mystery Writers of America members saying, 'Well, we meant to be there last year or the year before, but we’re coming this year for sure, this coming year,'" he says.He also says the recognition will help grow the festival."This gives us the ability to begin a real hands-on campaign," he says, "with some of the finest writers and publishers in the world and reason for them to come."Buffman says news of the award was a surprise, especially given that the festival is only three years old."It felt like a giant seal of approval by the greatest peers you have," he says. "And we get it early in an international festival — you know you got the attention of the people."In 2008, the ten-day festival counted about 27,000 attendees with 50 percent coming from outside Kentucky. The 2009 festival brought in 16,000 attendees. The 2010 festival is August 16 through the 22.

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