Record entries for the 13th Davitt Awards – best crime books by Australian women


A record 61 books are in contention Sisters in Crime Australia’s 13th Davitt Awards for the best crime and mystery books by Australian women in 2012.

Six Davitt Awards will be presented at gala dinner at the Thornbury Theatre in Melbourne on 31 August by leading New Zealand crime writer, Vanda Symon: Best Novel (Adult); Best Novel (Children’s and Young Adult); Best True Crime Book; Best Debut Book (any category); Readers’ Choice (as voted by the 600 members of Sisters in Crime Australia).

And this year, the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award will also be presented.

Davitt judges’ wrangler, Tanya King-Carmichael, said that the five judges had been stunned by the number of entries in this year’s annual Davitt Awards.

“There are a staggering 37 adult novels in contention, which is the largest number ever – up 16, from last year. Clearly the muse was providing female crime writers with a lot of inspiration in 2012!,” King-Carmichael said.
“There has been a slight dip in the number of true crime books in recent years, so it is very pleasing to see the numbers steadily rising, with eleven in competting this year. The field of young adult crime writing has always been well-represented though this year, numbers have slid from 18 to 13.
“As you can imagine, the Davitt judges have their heads down, and are busily reading in front of their respective fires.”

Prior to the award presentations, Symon will discuss her life in crime with Professor Sue Turnbull. Vanda started out as a pharmacist and turned to writing when she was at home with young children. She has now written four crime novels featuring Dunedin cop, Sam Shephard: Overkill, Ringmaster, Containment and Bound, which debuted at No. 1 on the NZ bestseller list in 2011. Her latest book is a stand-alone thriller, The Faceless. Vanda was an international guest at SheKilda, Sisters in Crime’s 20th anniversary convention, in 2011.

Sue Turnbull is Professor in Media and Communications, University of Wollongong, a Sisters in Crime national co-convenor, and crime columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald.

The Davitts – handsome carved polished wooded trophies featuring the front cover of the winning book under perspex – are named after Ellen Davitt, the author of Australia’s first mystery novel, Force and Fraud, in 1865. It costs publishers nothing to enter.

“The Davitts have played a key role in getting women’s crime books better recognised – and in encouraging Australian publishers to take a punt on crime books produced by women locally, instead of just importing the latest blockbusters from overseas. It’s a gamble that has paid off,” King-Carmichael said.

The judging panel for 2013 comprises forensic pathologist Dr Shelley Robertson, retired bookseller Rosi Tovey, Sisters in Crime national co-convenors Tanya King-Carmichael and Jacqui Horwood and former convenor Sylvia Loader.
The previous Davitts have been presented by Swedish crime writer Asa Larsson (2012); Singapore crime writer Shamini Flint (2012), Scottish crime writer Val McDermid (2010); Justice Betty King (2010), Judge Liz Gaynor (2008); Walkley-winning investigative journalist Estelle Blackburn (2007); Karen Kissane true crime writer (2006); Debbie Killroy, Sisters Inside (2005); Karin Slaughter, US crime writer (2004); Val McDermid (2003); Sharan Burrow, ACTU President (2002) and Christine Nixon, (then) Chief Commissioner, Victoria Police (2001).
Sisters in Crime Australia was set up 22 years ago, has chapters in different states and holds regular events in Melbourne dissecting crime fiction on the page and screen. It hosts a popular annual short-story competition, the Scarlet Stiletto Awards.

Venue: Thornbury Theatre, 859 High Street, Thornbury (wheelchair accessible)
The cost of this very special event, which includes dinner and the presentation of the 2013 Davitts Awards, is $60 (no concession). Drinks are available at bar prices.
Seats only (no dinner): $15 (no concession) Bookings close Monday 26 August. All seats are limited so book early — individually or in tables of up to 10. (from 15 July) Further information: (03) 9432 6777

The first 30 people to register receive a free crime book on entry to event. Men or ‘Brothers in Law’ are welcome.
Win a magnificent Miss Marple Novels Collection by Agatha Christie. Worth $175.00! Kindly donated by The Folio Society

Be Immortalised in Fiction Competition: Winner‘s name goes in the next novel by the Davitt Adult Fiction winner.
Sisters in Crime members will receive 10% discount on books purchased from the Sun Bookshop stall. All books in contention will be on sale.

Media comment: Tanya King-Carmichael on 0418 574 907

A shortlist will be published in late July. The long list follows (also attached):

Merlinda Bobis, Fish-Hair Woman (Spinifex Press)
Honey Brown, After the Darkness (Penguin Books Australia)
Deborah Burrows, A Stranger in My Street (Pan Macmillan Australia)
R C Daniels, The Price of Fame (Clan Destine Press)
Marianne Delacourt, Stage Fright (Allen & Unwin)
Y A Erskine, The Betrayal (Random House)
Amy Espeseth, Sufficient Grace (Scribe Publications)
Jaye Ford, Scared Yet? (Random House)
Sara Foster, Shallow Breath (Random House)
Kathryn Fox, Cold Grave (Pan Macmillan Australia)
Sulari Gentill, Miles Off Course (Pantera Press)
Sulari Gentill, Paving the New Road (Pantera Press)
Kerry Greenwood, Unnatural Habits (Allen & Unwin)
Maggie Groff, Mad Men, Bad Girls and the Guerilla Knitters Institute (Pan Macmillan Australia)
Narrelle M Harris, Walking Shadows (Clan Destine Press)
Annie Hauxwell, In Her Blood (Michael Joseph/Penguin Books Australia)
Katherine Howell, Silent Fear (Pan Macmillan Australia)
Wendy James, The Mistake (Penguin Books Australia)
L A Larkin, Thirst (Murdoch Books)
Tobsha Learner, The Map (HarperCollins)
Gabrielle Lord, Death by Beauty (Hachette Australia)
Colleen McCullough, Prodigal Son (HarperCollins)
Kate Morton, The Secret Keeper (Allen & Unwin)
Carolyn Morwood, Cyanide and Poppies (Pulp Fiction Press)
Tara Moss, Assassin (HarperCollins)
Ruby J Murray, Running Dogs (Scribe Publications)
Malla Nunn, Silent Valley (Pan Macmillan Australia)
Caroline Overington, Sisters of Mercy (Random House)
Bronwyn Parry, Dead Heat (Hachette Australia)
Josephine Pennicott, The Poet’s Cottage (Pan Macmillan Australia)
Bridgette Powell, Reflection of Evil (MBS Press)
Edwina Preston, The Inheritance of Ivorie Hammer (University of Queensland Press)
Rhonda Roberts, Hoodwink (HarperCollins)
Taylor Stevens, The Innocent (Bantam US/Random House)
Kirsten Tranter, A Common Loss (4th Estate/HarperCollins)
Felicity Young, A Dissection of Murder (HarperCollins)
Helene Young, Burning Lies (Penguin Books Australia)

Deborah Abela, Ghost Club 1 (Random House)
Gerry Bobsien, The Colour of Trouble (Walker Books)
Charlotte Calder, The Ghost at the Point (Walker Books)
Kaz Delaney, Dead, Actually (Allen & Unwin)
Kirsty Eagar, Night Beach (Penguin Books Australia)
Holly (H J) Harper, Bureau of Mysteries (Random House)
Sonya Hartnett, The Children of the King (Penguin Books Australia)
Michelle Renee Heeter, Riggs Crossing (Ford Street Publishing)
Fiona Horne, Witch (Allen & Unwin)
Gabrielle Lord, Conspiracy 365 – Malice (No. 14) (Scholastic Australia)
Sophie Masson, Moonlight and Ashes (Random House)
Jen Storer, Truly Tan (HarperCollins) Debut
Jennifer Walsh, The Tunnels of Tarcoola (Allen & Unwin)

Kathryn Bonella, Snowing in Bali: the incredible account of Bali’s hidden drug ring (Pan Macmillan Australia)
Hilary Bonney, The Double Life of Herman Rockefeller (Penguin Books Australia)
Pamela Burton, The Waterlow Killings: a portrait of a family tragedy (Melbourne University Publishing)
Justine Ford, Missing You (The Five Mile Press)
Kerry Greenwood, Taman Shud: the Somerton Man mystery (NewSouth Books)
Rochelle Jackson, Partners and Crime (Allen & Unwin)
Tan Levin, Crimwife: an insider’s account of love behind bars (Black Inc.)
Kay Schubach, Perfect Stranger: a true story of desire and obsession (Penguin Books Australia)
Rachel Sommerville, California P.I. (NewSouth Books)
Leonie Wallace, Horrible Man – Sinister Secrets and Truths Untold: the Portland hair salon murders (Fontaine Press)
Megan Norris, True True Blood: the depraved truth behind our most brutal vampire slayings (The Five Mile Press)

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