Andrew Coburn, crime novelist and Edgar Award finalist, is the latest Haverhill legend to be inducted into the Haverhill Citizens Hall of Fame during a ceremony next Saturday, Nov. 13.
The Haverhill Citizens Hall of Fame honors Haverhill residents who achieved fame during their lifetimes and brought recognition to the city. A display of the 43 previous honorees adorns a wall on the first floor of the Haverhill Public Library.
Coburn was born in Exeter, N.H., in 1932 and his family moved to Haverhill in 1944. He graduated from Haverhill High in 1950 and joined the Army in January 1951, serving in Germany. After his 1954 discharge, Coburn attended Suffolk University and Harvard University Extension Program. He resided on River Street and, after his 1957 marriage to the former Bernadine Casey of Lawrence, they lived on Ayer Street. In 1962, he joined the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, and the couple moved to Lawrence and to Andover in 1966.
Coburn began his newspaper career as a reporter covering organized crime by day while spending nights writing fiction. He won journalism awards from UPI in 1967 and AP in 1968. He left the newspaper in 1972 and, with associates, published The Journal of Greater Lawrence, followed by Greater Lawrence Today a few years later.
Coburn published his first novel, “The Trespassers” in 1974. After selling Greater Lawrence Today, he worked for The Boston Globe. After his second novel, “The Babysitter,” made The New York Times best-seller list in the late 1970s, he knew he could make a living writing.
Eventually, the author wrote 13 novels, a novella, a collection of short fiction and numerous short stories. Most of his works were set in the Merrimack Valley, and his 1998 novel, “Birthright,” was set in Haverhill.
His novels have been translated into 14 languages, and three were adapted into French films. In 1987, he received an honorary Doctor of Letters from Merrimack College.
Coburn was awarded a Eugene Saxton Memorial Fellowship in 1965. He was a finalist for the prestigious Edgar Allan Poe Award for crime fiction for his 1989 Goldilocks. Other literary honors include the Fifth Wednesday Journal’s 2009 Editors’ Award for Fiction for “Hearty Women.” It also earned a nomination for the 2009 Pushcart Award. His 2007 “Plum Island” was included in Contrary Magazine’s 10-year commemorative issue for best short stories in 2013.
He died Aug. 7, 2018 at Bedford VA Hospital.
The induction ceremony is free and open to the public. It takes place Saturday, Nov. 13, at 2 p.m., in the Johnson Auditorium at Haverhill Public Library, 99 Main St. Masks are required in all city buildings.