The Davitt Awards

Sisters in Crime Australia launched the Davitt Awards for best crime books by Australian women at its 10th anniversary convention, SheKilda 2001 to provide some much needed – and overdue – recognition for Australian women crime writers.

At that stage, women barely got a look in with the Ned Kelly Awards for crime writing. While women now occasionally win a Neddy, they are still unrepresented generally when it comes to awards, reviews and opportunities.

Since 2001 the Davitts have played a pivotal role in getting women’s crime writing published and better recognised. Back in 2001 only 7 books were in contention, although the awards did not then apply to non-fiction. In 2015, by contrast, 96 books were in the running.

Six Davitt Awards are presented annually: Best Adult Crime Novel; Best Young Adult Crime Novel; Best Children’s Crime Novel; Best Non-fiction Book; Best Debut Book (any category); and Readers’ Choice (as voted by the 600 members of Sisters in Crime Australia).

The publishers’ deadline for entering books in the 2017 Davitts was 28 April.

Voting by Sisters in Crime members on the 2017 Davitt (Readers’ Choice) will close on Friday day, 28 July 2017. Members will be notified electronically to vote via Eventbrite or, in a few instances, by snailmail.

The awards are handsome carved polished wooded trophies featuring the front cover of the winning novel under perspex. No prize money is attached.

The Davitts, named after Ellen Davitt, the author of Australia’s first mystery novel, Force and Fraud, in 1865, cost publishers nothing to enter. An e-book of Force and Fraud was published by Clan Destine Press in 2015 to mark its 150th anniversary.

The judging panel for 2017 comprises Sisters in Crime national co-convenor, Michaela Lobb; former convenors Jacqui Horwood, Maggie Baron and Sylvia Loader; forensic specialist Debbie Stephen; and Readings Bookshop bookseller and writer, Deborah Crabtree.

2016 Davitt winners were:

Best Adult Crime Novel: Resurrection Bay (Echo Publishing) by Emma Viskic

Best Young Adult Crime Novel: Risk (Penguin Random House) by Fleur Ferris 

Best Children’s Crime Novel: Friday Barnes 2: Under Suspicion (Penguin Random House) by R A Spratt

Best Debut Book: Joint winners – Resurrection Bay (Echo Publishing) by Emma Viskic and Risk (Penguin Random House) by Fleur Ferris 

Best Non-fiction Book: Wild Man (Affirm Press) by Alecia Simmonds

Readers’ Choice: Resurrection Bay (Echo Publishing) by Emma Viskic

Special Judges’ Award: Time to Run (Pan Macmillan Australia) by J M Peace 

Ellie Marney, Lauren Beukes, Karen Foxlee, Felicity Pulman, Jen Storer (l-r) & Sue Turnbull, Honey Brown & Carmel Shute (front)