Issue #6: E.B. and Bertha C. Ball Center News

Magna cum Murder (McM) Crime Writing Festival

Manga ImageMCM XIX exceeded our expectations this past October with 140 registrations, up 50 from last year.  The festival, which was held previously in Muncie, moved to the historic Columbia Club in downtown Indianapolis to serve as Magna’s home for the next three years. Guests of Honor included Steve Hamilton and Hank Phillippi Ryan, both bestselling authors. 

Below are some recent comments that we received regarding Magna: 

“This is a gem of an event. Discover Indiana and its marvelous Mystery Festival – I did and enjoyed every moment.” – Alexander McCall Smith   

“Magna cum Murder is the best small mystery conference in the country, period.  Everything is run to perfection, the people are great, the location is great...  What more could you ask for?” – Steve Hamilton   

"There are many elements that make Magna Cum Murder special, but if I had to pick just one, it would be how well writers, aspirants, and readers interact." – Jeffery Deaver   

“I've said for a long time that Magna has always been my favorite conference. I'm blown away by the honor of being guest of honor!” – John Gilstrap, MCM XX Guest of Honor   

"Magna cum Murder was the first festival that asked me to be a Guest of Honor. I, of course, accepted before they realized their mistake. And I had a blast! What a magnificent gathering. Everyone so smart and thoughtful about crime fiction. So committed to making the genre as diverse and inclusive as possible. It was small enough to allow for really meaningful contact with each other, and large enough so that there was always something fascinating to attend, and someone fascinating to speak with. It is without a doubt one of the great crime writing/reading festivals in existence. Congratulations on 20 years!" – Louise Penny    

"I came to Muncie more than twenty years ago, when Magna cum Murder was only a twinkle in someone’s eye. Now it is an institution, a legend, and a whole heap of fun. I’ve come back for more!” – Peter Lovesey   

“Magna is on the cusp of being THE Midwestern Mystery Con to attend.” – Carl Brookins   

“Worth flying across the country!” – Nancy L. Higby   

“Excellent programs with top-notch speakers. The new location in the heart of Indianapolis is first-rate. All of this combines to make Magna a first-rate Mystery Conference.” – Ted Hertel   

“My all-time favorite mystery conference!” – Molly Weston   

“Magna cum Murder is the only festival where you’re coming home every year.” – Beth Gray     

“Excellent programs with top-notch speakers. The new location in the heart of Indianapolis is first-rate. All of this combines to make Magna a first-rate Mystery Conference.” – Ted Hertel   

“My all-time favorite mystery conference!” – Molly Weston   

A complete list of quotes can be found at (click “Reasons to Attend Magna”).   

MCM XX goes international! We are delighted to announce that we will be co-hosted by CrimeFest, one of the most highly respected crime writing festivals in England. Guest of Honor is John Gilstrap and International Guest of Honor is Robert Wilson, with a visit by Magna veteran, Jeffrey Deaver, 2006 Guest of Honor.  


Town and Gown

On Paper cover imageThe December 3rd  Town and Gown Conversations dinner with special guest Nicholas Basbanes, author of “On Paper: The Everything of Its 2000 Year History,” attracted 70 guests. John Carlson featured the program in the “Lifestyles” section of the Muncie Star-Press. Basbanes, a journalist and a self-confessed Bibliophiliac, is the author of eight earlier works about books and book culture. 


Holiday Open House 

Luminaria walkThe E.B. and Bertha C. Ball Center welcomed 2,674 people to the annual Christmas Luminaria Walk. During this 2-day event, the community can tour the beautifully decorated Ball family home, listen to musicians, and see local artisans demonstrate their crafts at no cost to them.   

This year, the Center’s Cabaret Singing class performed during the Open House and at Vera Mae’s Bistro. Seats at Vera Mae’s sold out as did the dress rehearsal performance. Kent Shuff, owner-manager of Vera Mae’s, said that the audiences for these Cabaret performances are second in size only to their New Year’s Eve events.



The Center received the seal of approval from the Cincinnati Insurance Company during a Loss Control Risk Evaluation this fall.  The company’s director indicated in his final letter to us:  “The dedication to the proper use and care of the Center, in association with the Foundation and BSU, as expressed and exhibited by you and your staff is commended.”   

Renovations to our 1st floor kitchen are scheduled to begin in June. Renovations to the restrooms have begun and will be complete by May.  


Building Better Communities
Carmichael Hall (CA), room 104
Ball State University
Muncie, Indiana 47306

Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Summer hours: 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Phone: 765-285-2773
Fax: 765-285-4989
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