10/04/2014 - 11:45pm

Jason Steger, The Age's literary editor, reports that Hannah Kent's crime novel, Burial Rites,  has been shortlisted for UK's Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction.  It's also in contention for Sisters in Crime's 14th Davitt Awards.

Here is the full report from The Age, 10 April 2014:

Hannah Kent, the Australian writer whose debut novel, Burial Rites, has been a significant critical and commercial success, has been included on the shortlist for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize).

The listing means she is in line to win equivalent awards both in Australia, where she has been shortlisted for the Stella Prize, and in Britain. But because her novel – set in Iceland in 1829 and about the last woman executed there – has no Australian content it is ineligible for Australia's pre-eminent fiction award, the Miles Franklin.

Kent is on a publicity tour to coincide with publication of Burial Rites in the US. She faces tough competition on the Baileys shortlist from Donna Tartt's much-anticipated third novel, The Goldfinch, and former Orange Prize winner Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, whose Americanah has already won the National Book Critics Circle Award in the US, for which Tartt was also nominated.

Kent is not the only debut author on the list. She is joined by two Irish writers, Audrey Magee for The Under-taking, and Eimear McBride for A Girl is a Half-formed Thing. Jhumpa Lahiri's The Low-land completes the list.

Chair of the judges Helen Fraser said each of the shortlisted novels was extraordinary and original in its own way.

"Each offers something different and exciting and illuminating. We feel you could give any one of these books to a friend with the absolute confidence that they would be gripped and absorbed and that maybe their view of the world would be changed once they had read it."

The winner will receive £30,000 ($A53,700) and will be announced on June 4.

The shortlist

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah

Hannah Kent, Burial Rites

Jhumpa Lahiri, The Lowland

Audrey Magee, The Undertaking

Eimear McBride, A Girl is a Half-formed Thing

Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/hannah-kents-burial-rites-shortlisted-for-uks-baileys-womens-prize-for-fiction-20140408-36ag3.html#ixzz2yUU15pjL


10/04/2014 - 11:06am

Queen of Australian Crime Rediscovered

(Re)launch of June Wright’s Murder in the Telephone Exchange

4pm Sunday 27 April – Sun Theatre, 10 Ballarat Street, Yarraville (Melbourne)

Murder in the Telephone Exchange, the long neglected 1948 crime novel of Melbourne-born June Wright, is set to win a new generation of fans, thanks to its reissue by US publisher Verse Chorus Press in April.

Murder in the Telephone Exchange,Wright’s debut novel, was remarkable for its ‘scene of the crime’ (a central telephone exchange), the murder weapon (a ‘buttinsky’, a piece of equipment used to listen in on phone calls) and its setting (Melbourne). According to Wright, it was the first detective novel set in Melbourne since Fergus Hume’s Mystery of the Hansom Cab was published in 1886.

Wright drew on her own experiences at Melbourne Central Telephone Exchange from 1939 to 1941 to create the richly detailed plot with a telephonist sleuth.

In 1948, Murder in the Telephone Exchange was the best-selling mystery in Australia, sales outstripping even those of the reigning queen of crime, Agatha Christie. Wright went on to publish five more top-quality mysteries over the next two decades – including three featuring the irrepressible nun detective, Mother Paul – while at the same time raising six children, one of whom was severely intellectually disabled.

When Wright died two years ago at the age of 92, her books were largely forgotten and very hard to find, despite the praise she received at the time and the championing of her work in such recent surveys of the field as Stephen Knight‘s Continent of Mystery.

All that’s about to change as Dark Passage, a Verse Chorus imprint, is republishing all of Wright’s novels, including a previously unpublished mystery, Duck Season Death, due out later in the year. Both these books include extended introductions by Derham Groves, a Melbourne academic and crime aficionado. The other five novels will follow at intervals over the next two years.

Sisters in Crime Australia is joining forces with the Sun Bookshop in Yarraville to re-launch Murder in the Telephone Exchange – 4pm Sunday 27 April – Sun Theatre, 10 Ballarat Street, Yarraville (Melbourne).

Speakers at the launch include crime fiction historians Lucy Sussex and Stephen Knight, Derham Groves and Wright’s eldest son, Patrick. All crime fans are welcome to attend.

Sussex, who interviewed Wright in the 1990s whilst working as a researcher for Knight’s history of Australian crime fiction, says:

“Wright was a type of woman I met often from the generation born in the early twentieth century: highly articulate, clever, toughened by the experience of the Great Depression and a World War, but doomed to the domestic sphere. She had it worst than most, with six children. Her writing was a means of keeping her sanity, regaining respect via self-expression. She was a housewife literary superstar before Edna, and people loved her for it.

“Wright chronicled Melbourne and women’s lives with great acuteness. She believed in her writing, but never was a pushy author. Rather in person she could be self-deprecating, as a defensive weapon. But like her writing she was observant, intelligent and also charming.”

Knight, who is currently Vice-Chancellor's Fellow at the University of Melbourne, says that in 1948 Wright began a career notable in two ways.

“She was the first Australian crime writer to take seriously the idea that a woman can play a major role in detecting crime – and internationally one of the first to see that role as not merely enacting female stereotypes. But Wright also, just as unusually, experimented through her novels with the form and structure of the crime novel to release in the best way her proto-feminist instincts.

Murder in the Telephone Exchange is a very capable classic mystery, notable both for being set in a large city – Melbourne – and also for the practical way in which Maggie Byrnes, quick-witted young telephonist, goes about her inquiries.”

Groves has long admired Wright, in 2008 curating an exhibition, Murderous Melbourne, which featured the work of Wright and another largely forgotten Australian crime writer, S.H. Courtier. He says Wright’s books are “distinguished by finely drawn settings in and around Melbourne, Victoria, feisty female protagonists and credible social situations, and in my opinion, they thoroughly deserve a contemporary reappraisal.”

In his introduction to Murder in the Telephone Exchange, Groves recounts the story of Wright’s second book, So Bad a Death, originally entitled Who Would Murder a Baby? When challenged by the editor of the Australasian Post, she declared: “Obviously you know nothing of the homicidal instincts sometimes aroused in a mother by her children. After a particularly exasperating day, it is a relief to murder a few characters in your book instead.”

Wright’s son Patrick, a retired university lecturer now living in Newport, says: “For my granddaughters I hold June up as a role model of someone who had a dream, claimed their talent, and with courage, application, focus, hard work and resilience achieved their dream, something worthwhile.”

Wright stopped writing crime fiction to earn a regular salary when her husband Stewart became unable to work. She returned to the telephones, this time at the TAB, where she worked for six years. Stewart later established a cleaning business, and Wright retrained in business to assist him until his death in 1989.

All welcome. Click here to RSVP for launch 4pm Sunday 27 April to Sun Bookshop or ring (03) 9689-0661

Sun Theatre (downstairs), 10 Ballarat Street, Yarraville (Melbourne)

Info: Carmel Shute, National Co-convenor, Sisters in Crime Australia 0412 569 356 or click here to email.


by June Wright

Publication date: April 14, 2014

Publisher: Dark Passage/Verse Chorus Press

Paperback, 368 pages, A$24.95

ISBN: 978-1-891241-37-6

More info: http://www.versechorus.com/Murder-in-the-Telephone-Exchange.html

Distribution: Dennis Jones & Associates http://www.dennisjones.com.au/


June Wright (1919-2012) was born June Healy in Malvern, Victoria, and educated at Kildara College and Loreto Mandeville Hall. After leaving school she worked as a telephonist at the Central Telephone Exchange in Melbourne. Her novels include So Bad a Death, The Devil’s Caress, Reservation for Murder, Faculty of Murder, and Make-Up for Murder. Click here to read The Age obituary on 19 March 2012.

04/04/2014 - 12:10pm

Sisters in Crime has joined forces with Words by the Bay to present Wild Women of Crime – 6.30-8pm, Friday 4 April at Brighton Theatre.

Three crime writers – Jane Clifton, Kathryn Ledson and Maurilia Meehan – will talk about how their sleuths are challenging and subverting conventions (and having lots of fun doing it) with Sisters in Crime convenor Jacqui Horwood. They have take wildly different stands on crime fiction and their sleuths.

Writer, actor and singer, Jane Clifton, returned to the world of crime last year with her third novel, Flush (Clan Destine Press), about a body washed up in the Maribyrnong River.

Clifton says the ‘wild women of crime’ are firmly anchored to their keyboards, a shiraz at hand, typing.

“Ask any flatfoot fox of the female constabulary and they will soon tell you that the ‘wild women of crime’ are generally to be found on the money side of the law. The Robertas, the Judys and the Grannies Evil, plus the odd legal eagle who has flown the coop. Crime-solving in the real world is unglamorous, door-to-door foot-slog for the most part, involving a lot less hair-acting and sexy-rexy work than you see on either CSI or Scott and Bailey.

“The Glock-wielding, wall-scaling-in-stilettos P.I. and the gimlet-eyed, crocheting village crone are only to be found in works of fiction. And, as such, their variety is only limited by the bounds of the writer’s imagination.

“In the 21st century where 60 is the new 40, for example, there’s a compelling argument to be made for a Marple re-boot that would see Jane at the gym spotting perps between burpies.

Kathryn Ledson, author of Rough Diamond and Monkey Business (Penguin Books Australia), the first two instalments in a series of romantic, action-packed novels, says that these days it’s pretty common for women to crash their way through gender barriers and glass ceilings.

“In this age of kick-ass heroines with rock-hard abs and guns on their hips, I reckon my protagonist’s ordinariness is pretty unconventional. Erica Jewell’s a scaredy-cat on a mission to win a man’s love and save him from himself, no matter how dangerous the scenario and no matter how big the spiders.

“But Erica does fantasise about being Lara Croft (as do I), swinging from helicopters, snapping the necks of baddies and marauding beasts, rescuing the man of her dreams. She thinks she should be the stereotype, not realising she’s OK as she is, and her mother probably doesn’t help that situation.”

Award-winning novelist, Maurilia Meehan, turned to crime last year with Madame Bovary’s Haberdashery (Transit Lounge) which plays with the conventions of the mystery, and delightfully subverts one of its treasured finales. It pays homage to both Christie and Flaubert.

“The detective is not a detective at all in this novel. Far less one of those feisty and brilliant female sleuths that we all love”, she says.

“Cicely is an introverted knitter, erotic novelist and believer in the idea that Madame Bovary was the first sex and shopping novel. So, when her best friend goes missing, she is supremely unqualified for the role of detective. Except that she has read all the Miss Marples, so needs must… After all, we are all detectives in our own lives, aren’t we?”

Meehan has just put out a new crime e-book, The Bad Seed.

Proudly part of Words by the Bay: Bayside Literary Series, presented by Bayside City Council: http://www.bayside.vic.gov.au/literary_festival_full_program.htm or ring 03 9591 5907

Author info: www.janeclifton.com.au; http://kathrynledson.com; www.mauriliameehanauthor.com

Brighton Theatre, Bayside Arts and Culture Centre, Wilson Street, Brighton

$10 (concession/members of Sisters in Crime & Writers’Victoria)/$15 (non-members).

Bookings essential www.trybooking.com/72016

Info: Carmel Shute: 0412 569 356; cshute@internode.on.net; www.sistersincrime.org.au

04/02/2014 - 4:21pm

Time Out  has published this interview by Jenny Valentish with author Leigh Redhead about the Sisters in Crime's Valentine's Day's event, She Always Gets Her Man, she's hosting with romantic supense writers Bronwyn Parry, Cheryl Wright & Helene Young.

Crime minx Leigh Redhead hosts a panel of romantic suspense authors this Valentine's Day. Click here to read.

8pm, Friday 14 February (dinner from 6.30pm). The Rising Sun Hotel, cnr Raglan St & Eastern Rd, South Melbourne

$10 (members/concession)/$15 (non-members).

Info: Carmel Shute: 0412 569 356


03/02/2014 - 10:16am

RMIT Master Class in Forensic Interviewing with forensic linguist, Dr Georgina Heydon

6 evenings of 3 hours spread over two weeks in February (19, 20, 21, 26, 27 & 28)

How to be a good listener and to know what questions to ask to elicit the most reliable information if conduct interview…Ideal for investigators, members of the criminal justice system, journalists and presumably crime writers.

Georgia wowed Sisters in Crime’s Law Week event last year with her lively description of forensic linguistics works and how you can use its techniques in all sorts of areas.

Book here

28/01/2014 - 9:20pm

Sisters in Crime is celebrating St Valentine’s Day with an event entitled She always gets her man, 8pm Friday 14 February at South Melbourne’s Rising Sun Hotel.

Three ‘romantic suspense’ authors – Bronwyn Parry, Cheryl Wright & Helene Young – will cut to the chase on this famous day for lovers with fellow crime author Leigh Redhead.

Redhead, who writes a stripper-turned-PI series, says she and the other authors will be talking about how their sleuths nab the bad guy as well as catching the good one.

"Romance and crime are a natural pairing. I mean, it’s Freudian, innit? Sex and death, Eros and Thanatos. If you’ve narrowly escaped death, the first thing you want to do is shag like mad," she says.

Parry, an academic based in Armidale, NSW has written three novels in a loosely-linked series set in the fictional regional town of Dungirri – As Darkness Falls, Dark Country and Darkening Skies as well as Dead Heat.

“The relationship between crime and romance: crime is the absence of love,” she says. “In romantic suspense, our characters don't say 'I'd die for you' lightly. Because they just might have to... Crime and romance are both about fear – with crime, we're physically vulnerable. In romance, we're emotionally vulnerable. Both are as scary as hell.”

The first three novels of multi-award winning author, Helene Young a Brisbane pilot, centred on coastal surveillance operations round Australia. Her latest novel, Half Moon Bay, was chosen as the June Book of the Month by The Get Reading team with Safe Harbour out in April.

“Romantic suspense?, she queries. “Stealing a heart on Valentine's Day is the least of my problems…”

Melbourne romance writer, Cheryl Wright, turned her hand to crime with Running Scared. “Romance and suspense are a killer combo,” she reckons.

It’s not the first time that Sisters in Crime has marked St Valentine’s Day. In 1994, it held the St Valentine’s Day Massacre, a night of ‘crimesports’ where male and female teams competed to write a crime story with supplied clues. Compered by then local MP, John Thwaites, and starring former Port Phillip mayor, Dick Gross, and author Kerry Greenwood, amongst others, it attracted a crowd of 380 to the Espy’s legendary Gershwin Room.

The Rising Sun Hotel, cnr Raglan St & Eastern Rd, South Melbourne Mel Ref: 57, H2.Try 1, 55, 112 or St Kilda Road trams. Free on-street parking after 6pm.

$10 (members/concession)/$15 (non-members). Dinner upstairs from 6.30pm (no lift). Men or ‘brothers-in-law’ welcome. 10% discount for members from Sun Bookshop stall.

Info: Carmel Shute: 0412 569 356

Author bios:

Bronwyn Parry: Based in New England, Bronwyn has written three novels in a loosely-linked series set in the fictional regional town of Dungirri – As Darkness Falls, Dark Country and Darkening Skies as well as Dead Heat (all published by Hachette). Her books have found an international audience in the UK, Germany and the Czech Republic. She currently works as a sessional academic at the University of New England.

Cheryl Wright: Cheryl writes contemporary romance and the occasional comedy but has turned her hand to romantic suspensewith Running Scared (Books We Love) about a woman stalked by her husband's killers and aided and abetted by an undercover cop. A former secretary, debt collector, account manager, writing instructor, and shopping tour hostess, Cheryl lives in Melbourne and has won several awards for her writing.

Helene Young: Multi-award winning author, Helene Young is a Queensland-based pilot whose first three novels – Border Watch (reissued as Wings of Fear), Shattered Sky and Burning Lies – centred on coastal surveillance operations round Australia and attracted a legion of fans. Her latest novel, Half Moon Bay, was chosen as the June Book of the Month by The Get Reading team last year. Out in April is Safe Harbour (Penguin Books Australia), a ‘friends to lovers’ story, set against a back drop of drugs in sport and international crime syndicates.

Leigh Redhead: Leigh is the author of the award-winning Simone Kirsch stripper/private eye series. After four years living in Vietnam, she's returned to Melbourne where she is writing the fifth Simone book, teaching creative writing, and wrangling a baby and a toddler. She also contributed a chapter to the collection If I Tell You…I’ll Have To Kill You: Australia’s Leading Crime Writers Reveal Their Secrets (Allen & Unwin), out last year.


14/01/2014 - 9:54am

The Emerging Writers’ Festival prides itself on being inclusive to everyone in the writing community, of all ages and at all stages of their career. In this spirit, each year we run an open artist call out as an opportunity for writers to put up their hands and let us know they’d like to be involved in the festival. And it’s that time already for the 2014 festival!

For writers – remember, this is your festival! It’s what you make it and we want you to feel like you own it! Tell us what you want to hear – the discussions about writing you want to have – and whether you want to be one of the people to lead the conversations. Tell us about other emerging writers you would like to hear too!

In 2014, as an Emerging Writers’ Festival artist, you will be bold, inventive and playful, and happy to present your work in front of friendly new audiences. You’ll have cool ideas about publications, performances, dialogues, panels, debates, workshops.  Most importantly, you’ll be willing to share your knowledge with other writers. We’re interested in one off projects too (check out Emily Stewart who gave away all her books at the 2013 festival! Emily’s Dear Reader project was a pitch in our call out this year.)

If you would like to be considered as a festival guest at the Emerging Writers’ Festival in 2014, simply email us with a brief indication of the following:

1. What you write
2. Where you’re from,
3. What you would like to hear and present at the 2014 festival.

Applications are open now and close January 31 2014. We look forward to hearing from you and hope to see you at the Emerging Writers’ Festival in 2014!

The Emerging Writers’ Festival runs 27 May – June 6 2014.


25/11/2013 - 10:06pm

Read the 12 prize-winning stories from this year's 20th Scarlet Stiletto Awards launched at the ceremony on 22 November: Scarlet Stiletto Short Stories: 2013, edited by Phyllis King, National Sisters in Crime co-convenor. e-book, published by Clan Destine Press - $4.

Click here to download from the Clan Destine Press website.



25/11/2013 - 9:54pm

The winners of the Frocked Up for Phryne Competition at the 20th Scarlet Stiletto Awards were thrilled to receive DVDs of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (Series 1 set and first disk of series 2) donated by the ABC; limited edition catalogues and free double passes to the National Trust’s wildly successful Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Costume Exhibition; posters, postcards and other goodies from the series’ producer, Every Cloud Productions; and a collection of the Kerry Greenwood books from Allen & Unwin. (Pictured are some of the contestants.)

Sisters in Crime is deeply grateful for this generous support.

Read on for more details:

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (Series 2 Volume 1) DVD

$RRP 29.95 . 2 DISCS . 407 MINS . M

The Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher is back! The second series of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries builds on the meticulously constructed world of series one as it follows the independent, glamorous and unflappable leading lady detective Phryne Fisher (Essie Davis, The Slap). Click here for details.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Costume Exhibition extended at Rippon Lea (Melbourne) to 1 December

Due to the amazing success of the Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Costume Exhibition, with almost 30,000 visitors in the first six weeks, the National Trust and Every Cloud Productions have extended the exhibition at Rippon Lea House and Gardens (192 Hotham Street, Elsternwick) until Sunday 1 December so visitors can enjoy Miss Fisher’s mysterious ways for longer.

The exhibition showcases a range of 1920s costumes from ABC1’s popular drama series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, based on Kerry Greenwood’s series of novels and currently screening on Friday nights 8.30pm. The iconic Rippon Lea House & Gardens features in the series as the home of regular character Aunt Prudence.

The exhibition includes insights from talented costume designer, Marion Boyce, as well as the producers of the show Fiona Eagger and Deb Cox, and when viewing the exhibition visitors can participate in an interactive murder mystery adventure with clues hidden around the mansion.

The Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Costume Exhibition is open daily until Sunday 1 December from 10am – 4.30pm (Last entry is at 4pm).


Adult $15 Concession $12 Child $9 Family $35 (2 adults and 2 children)
Discounts available for National Trust members

For more information or to book exhibition or public programs tickets call (03) 9656 9804 or visit ripponleaestate.com.au

Read about Phryne Fisher, the 1920s most elegant and irrepressible sleuth.

Her latest adventure – her 20th – is Murder and Mendelssohn. Click here for details.



25/11/2013 - 4:56pm

Petition to Mark Scott, Managing Director, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

The ABC has yet to commission a third series of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries whose last episode screened on 22 November 2013

Will you take 30 seconds to sign Sisters in Crime’s petition right now – and share it via Facebook and lists? Click here.