Skip to main content

WVU Journalism professor nominated for an Edgar Award

From The Washington Post to Hollywood, West Virginia University Reed College of Media Associate Professor John Temple’s latest nonfiction book, “American Pain: How a Young Felon and His Ring of Doctors Unleashed America’s Deadliest Drug Epidemic,” has received a lot of national attention. Now it is up for one of the most prestigious awards that a writer can receive—an Edgar.

American Pain book cover

This week “American Pain” was nominated for Best Fact Crime book for the 2016 Edgar Allen Poe Awards. The award, known as the Edgar, is presented by the Mystery Writers of America (MWA) and honors the best in mystery and crime fiction, nonfiction, television, film and theater published or produced in the previous year.

Since its release by Lyons Press last September, Temple’s book has received favorable reviews from USA Today and The Washington Post and was named a New York Post Favorite Book of 2015. In addition, Warner Bros. is developing a movie script based on the book. Melisa Wallack, who co-wrote the Oscar-nominated movie “Dallas Buyers Club,” has written the screenplay.

“American Pain” is the true story of twin brothers Chris and Jeff George, who ran an illegal painkiller distribution scheme through a Florida-based chain of pain clinics. The clinics’ physicians distributed massive quantities of oxycodone to addicts posing as patients—giving rise to a new drug industry that tipped the current opioid crisis.

John TempleTemple teaches reporting and writing courses and specializes in narrative nonfiction. His previous books include, “The Last Lawyer: The Fight to Save Death Row Inmates” (2009) and “Deadhouse: Life in a Coroner’s Office” (2005). In 2010, “The Last Lawyer” won the Scribes Book Award from the American Society of Legal Writers. Prior to joining WVU in 2002, Temple taught creative nonfiction writing at the University of Pittsburgh. He also worked as a reporter for six years for newspapers in Pennsylvania, Florida and North Carolina. Temple earned his M.F.A from the University of Pittsburgh. More information can be found at

Finalists for the Edgar Allen Poe Awards will be recognized at the MWA’s 70th Gala Banquet on April 28, 2016, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City.

MWA is the premier organization for mystery writers, professionals allied to the crime-writing field, aspiring crime writers, and those who are devoted to the genre. The organization is dedicated to promoting higher regard for crime writing and recognition and respect for those who write within the genre.

Read the official release at WVU Today.