National Co-Convenors

Carmel Shute

Carmel is the inimitable powerhouse behind Sisters in Crime, but we couldn’t possibly place her way down an alphabetical list (although she assures us she doesn’t mind) so we are breaking with convention and listing our fabulous convenors in order of convening years.

Carmel helped found Sisters in Crime Australia in 1991 and has been a national co-convenor ever since. She was inspired by the new wave of feminist crime writers, including Sara Paretsky who founded Sisters in Crime in 1986 at Bouchercon, the premier US crime writing convention. Carmel loves the combination of politics, suspense, good writing and fun that women’s crime writing and Sisters in Crime has brought to her life.

Carmel is an historian by trade, has worked as a union organiser at the ABC, and a media officer in local government and the trade union movement. She runs her own PR business Shute the Messenger. Her long-term ambition is to write the definitive crime novel set in local government. Carmel currently holds the position of Secretary.

Lindy Cameron

An independent publisher and crime writer, Lindy is author of the Kit O’Malley PI trilogy Blood Guilt, Bleeding Hearts and Thicker Than Water; the archaeological mystery Golden Relic; the action thriller Redback; and the sf crime Feedback.

Lindy is two-time Readers’ Choice Davitt Award winner: for Bleeding Hearts (2002) and Thicker Than Water (2004).

She is also co-author of the True Crime collections: Killer in the Family and Murder in the Family, with her sister Fin J Ross; and Women Who Kill, with Ruth Wykes.

Lindy, who currently holds the position of Vice-President, is a founding member and national co-convenor of Sisters in Crime and the Publisher at Clan Destine Press.

Caz Brown

Caz has a BA in Professional Writing and Literature, a Diploma in Clothing Design and a Grad Dip in Graphic Design. She puts these to good use by designing and editing most of the Sisters in Crime printed material and also helps out with snail-mailouts at Carmel’s, when laughs and a good feed are guaranteed!

Caz’s first encounter with Sisters in Crime was in 1992 when she was on the St Kilda Writers Festival committee. Sisters in Crime held a trivia night at the Village Belle – the most successful event of the festival. At that time, she was reading dodgy lesbian crime fiction on the tram to work,
started to go to Sisters in Crime events, and became a convenor in 2011. She was delighted to discover Koko and Yum Yum, Lilian Jackson Braun’s pair of sleuthing Siamese cats – quite the opposite of her own Orientals who are all incorrigible ‘tea leaves’. Current must watch is The Bridge – the Scandinavian version, of course.

Ann Byrne

Apart from reading any and all crime, Ann’s particular interest is financial crime and she continues to be amazed that few women write in this specialised part of the genre. To encourage women to write financial crime, she sponsors the Scarlet Stiletto Award for Best Financial Crime Story. Before Ann travels, she reads the local crime fiction to get a feel for cities and places. Ann co-ordinates the website book reviews and welcomes new reviewers.

Sandra Nicholson

Sandra commenced her career with Victoria Police in 1975 and worked in most aspects of policing, including general duties, criminal investigations, Freedom of Information, police training and task force policing, and worked in both metropolitan and rural areas.

Sandra retired on 1 July 2010 after just over 35 years service. Prior to this, she was an Assistant Commissioner responsible for the delivery of all policing services in the Western Region of the State, which included the areas from Footscray to the South Australian border. These services were delivered through 1800 members of Victoria Police to 1.5 million people in both metropolitan and rural communities.

After retiring, Sandra fulfilled a life-long dream by completing a Summer School in Creative Writing at Oxford University as part of her five-month jaunt in Europe. Sandra is a passionate traveller and reader and loves visiting art galleries, attending live theatre and relaxes by swimming. She also attends a local bookshop’s monthly book club, subscribes to the Melbourne Theatre Company each year and, on retirement, joined both the Australian Ballet and Opera Societies. She has also been a member
of the NGV since 1983.

Sandra currently Chairs the Blue Ribbon Foundation (Westgate Branch) and the Art History Chapter of the La Trobe University Alumni, but most of her time is taken up as a committee member of her Owners Corporation!

Sandra was elected Sisters in Crime’s President in February 2017, following the death of Vivienne Colmer.

Michaela Lobb

Michaela holds a bachelors degree in Creative Industries: Writing from QUT and is currently undertaking post-grad studies at RMIT in project management. She has worked in event management for over 10 years.

Michaela began her life of crime at age 11 when she transitioned from reading Trixie Belden to Agatha Christie. Being a convenor for Sisters in Crime keeps Michaela busy combining her skills in event management with her love of the crime genre.

Janice Simpson

Janice is an avid crime reader and writer, her first crime novel being Murder in Mt Martha (Hybrid Press, 2016). She works as an academic at RMIT when she is not undertaking long-distance bike rides, mainly in Europe.

Robyn Walton

Robyn has been a member of Sisters in Crime since 1997. She has worked in university teaching, research and book editing, and has published short fictions.

Robyn Byrne

Robyn is an ex-public servant who spent 10 years researching and writing in a public servant style, so it will take her some time to adjust her writing style if she ever wants to write for crime readers. She is now Treasurer of Sisters in Crime and tries to balance the books… with some help. She has been fortunate in being a long-term member of Sisters in Crime and remembers when we met in Leos!!! As a reader, she loves both crime fact and crime fiction books and is lucky to have many copies of crime books signed by authors at our events.

Robyn has been on the board of Inner South Community Health for many years and received an Order of Australia Medal on 26 January 2009. She is also on the Council of the Australian Institute of International Affairs Victoria and runs the Building Committee and VCE Committee.

Moraig Kisler

Moraig is a freelance writer, reviewer and editor with murderous impulses. She champions Australian genre fiction, particularly crime fiction. Moraig is a newly appointed co-convenor of Sisters in Crime Australia and her monthly book reviews can be found on the Sister’s website. For her sins, she interns at Clan Destine Press and does what she’s told (with a smile). Moraig has almost completed her Professional Writing and Editing course at RMIT. To balance her dark side and because she enjoys romantic suspense, she’s a proofreader for Romance Writers of Australia’s monthly newsletter Hearts Talk. Sometimes she writes in the vague hope of one day finishing her police procedural novel The Salt Works.

Pauline Meaney

Pauline’s introduction to the Sisters was in the notorious back room of Leo’s in the mid-90s. Oh how far away seems now …but the memory is still clear – a room filled with chattering, opinionated, fun women, all determined to have their say. And so it continues…

Having worked with books and information in a variety of roles, Pauline is a keen and critical consumer – and is especially supportive of the Australian voice. Crime writing is of special interest – especially when combining an historical or travel element.

Pauline has worked in in education, in public libraries and for various community based groups in a variety of programs and is currently using her skills and commitment to social justice in working as an Advocate in Aged Care. She was elected a convenor in 2016.

Janelle Colquhoun

Queensland Convenor, Janelle became serious about writing when chronic illness and disability curtailed her international operatic career with the Australian and Frankfurt Operas. She now runs Salubrious Productions, an entertainment and production agency, has produced over 1400 events, recorded 3 solo CDs, and has appeared as singer, speaker, MC, workshop facilitator and media spokesperson on topics ranging from diabetes to arts marketing around Australia and in Paris, Bermuda, Seoul, Chicago, Montreal, Switzerland, Dubai, London, Auckland, Berlin and New Delhi.


In October 2016 she will undertake an arts leadership mentorship in Wales. Janelle writes and edits marketing and promotional material, has had more than 100 of her arts, disability and health articles published, won awards and been included in anthologies with her short stories, most recently in Short and Twisted 2016 under her penname J C Lesley. She gave a reading at the Queensland Writers Centre ‘Whispers’ in 2014 and is currently working on the script for her one-woman cabaret Blind Date and her crime novel, featuring a blind protagonist and her police/guide dog Spike. In her spare time she sits on a number of Queensland Health committees as consumer rep and convenes Sisters in Crime Queensland.

Val Marsden

Val, WA Convenor, is a retired public servant (as indeed are almost all of the Perth Sisters!), feminist, recreational cyclist, amateur photographer, and above all, lifetime reader.

Past National Co-Convenors

Sisters in Crime has had many convenors – each has given generously of their time and talents, for which we thank them.

Special recognition in the form of Lifetime Membership has been awarded to the following women who were convenors for 10 years or longer: