A record 99 books of murderous intent are in contention for Sisters in Crime Australia’s 17th Davitt Awards. Sixty-three are adult crime novels.
Davitt judges’ wrangler, Jacqui Horwood, said women’s crime writing had exploded over the past 17 years.
“When the Davitt Awards were set up back in 2001, there were only seven books competing, though admittedly non-fiction crime books weren’t then in contention. A fourteen-fold increase in 17 years almost requires suspension of disbelief. This year the number of books in contention was within spitting distance of a lovely round number,” Horwood said.
“What’s also apparent this year is that women’s crime is not just stalking the mean streets of Australian cities. It’s crossed the paddocks to striding down the dusty backroads of rural Australia. Books such as Jane Harper’s The Dry (Pan Macmillan Australia) and Emily Maguire’s, An Isolated Incident (Pan Macmillan Australia) have found large and appreciative readerships. Rural settings are particularly popular with romantic suspense authors such as Bronwyn Parry and Fleur McDonald.
“Others, including Tania Chandler (Dead in the Water – Scribe Publications Australia) and Dorothy Porter (Through a Camel’s Eye – For Pity Sake Publishing) have headed to the coast in a kind of literary sea-change.”
Horwood said that a number of authors were aiming for an international audience.
“Australia is such a small market that the temptation to target the large US and UK markets can be overwhelming. Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil (Penguin Random House Australia), the first adult crime novel by well-known YA author, Melina Marchetta, switches between UK and France. Caroline Overington (The One Who Got Away – HarperCollins Australia) has opted for California as the scene of the crime,” Horwood said.
“It’s a dead cert that the huge success of the TV dramatization of Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies (Pan Macmillan Australia), which was relocated from Sydney to California, will see more crime books by Australian authors being set overseas.”
Six Davitt Awards will be presented at gala dinner in Melbourne in August or September: Best Adult Novel; Best Young Adult; Best Children’s 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 Davitts, named after Ellen Davitt, the author of Australia’s first mystery novel, Force and Fraud, in 1865, cost publishers nothing to enter.
The awards are handsome carved polished wooded trophies featuring the front cover of the winning novel under perspex. No prize money is attached.
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.
Previous Davitt Awards have been presented by Australian crime writer Liane Moriarty (2016); UK crime writer Sophie Hannah (2015); South African crime writer Lauren Beukes (2014); New Zealand crime writer Vanda Symons (2013); Swedish crime writer Asa Larsson (2012); Singapore crime writer Shamini Flint (2011), Scottish crime writer Val McDermid (2003 & 2010); Justice Betty King (2009), Judge Liz Gaynor (2008); Walkley-winning investigative journalist Estelle Blackburn (2007); true crime writer Karen Kissane (2006); Sisters Inside’s Debbie Killroy, (2005); US crime writer Karin Slaughter, (2004); ACTU President Sharan Burrow (2002) and Chief Commissioner, Victoria Police, Christine Nixon (2001).
Sisters in Crime Australia was set up 26 years ago, has chapters in different states and holds regular events in Melbourne dissecting crime fiction on the page and screen. It also hosts a popular annual short-story competition, the Scarlet Stiletto Awards.
The Davitts apply to books published the previous calendar year.
Voting by Sisters in Crime members on the Davitt (Readers’ Choice) closes on 31 July.
A short list will be announced in mid to late July.
The long list follows.
Media comment: Jacqui Horwood on 0449 703 503; email@example.com
2017 Davitt Awards: Books in contention
Adult novels (63)
- B M Allsopp, Death on Paradise Island (Coconut Press) ebook Debut
- J D Barrett, The Secret Recipe for Second Chances (Hachette Australia) Debut
- Sarah Barrie, Legacy of Hunters Ridge (Harlequin) ebook
- Sarah Barrie, Shadows of Hunters Ridge (Harlequin) ebook
- Carmel Bird, Family Skeleton (UWA Publishing)
- Anne Buist, Dangerous to Know (Text Publishing)
- Pamela Burton, A Foreign Affair (Ginninderra Press)
- Melanie Casey, Missing (Pantera Press)
- Tania Chandler, Dead in the Water (Scribe Publications Australia)
- Aiofe Clifford, All These Perfect Strangers (Simon & Schuster Australia) Debut
- Sandy Curtis, Murder, Mayhem and Men on Pause (Ormiston Press)
- Joy Dettman, The Silent Inheritance (Pan Macmillan Australia)
- Christine Dibley, To the Sea (Pan Macmillan Australia) Debut
- Susan Errington, Ice Letters (Penguin Random House Australia) Debut
- Ilsa Evans, Dastardly Deeds: A Nell Forrest mystery (book #4) (Pan Macmillan Australia – Momentum) ebook
- Cath Ferla, Ghost Girls (Bonnier Publishing Australia) Debut
- Jaye Ford, Darkest Place (Random House)
- Sara Foster, All That is Lost Between Us (Simon & Schuster Australia)
- S J Gardiner, Isolation (Fahrenheit Press) Debut
- Sulari Gentill, The Prodigal Son (Pantera Press) novella, ebook
- T J Hamilton, Finding Thyme (Harlequin) Debut
- Jane Harper, The Dry (Pan Macmillan Australia) Debut
- Narrelle M Harris, The Adventure of the Colonial Boy (Improbable Press)
- Annie Hauxwell, House of Bones (Penguin Random House UK)
- Tory Hayward, Deception (Escape Publishing) ebook
- Amanda Howard, Ritual: Shrouded echoes (Killing Time Books)
- Jane Jago, The Wrong Hand (Penguin Random House UK) Debut
- Katherine Johnson, The Better Son (Ventura Press) Debut
- Dorothy Johnston, Through a Camel’s Eye (For Pity Sake Publishing)
- L A Larkin, Devour (Hachette Australia)
- Kathryn Ledson, Grand Slam (Penguin Random House Australia)
- Olga Lorenzo, The Light on the Water (Allen & Unwin)
- Emily Maguire, An Isolated Incident (Pan Macmillan Australia) Debut
- Melina Marchetta, Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil (Penguin Random House Australia) Debut
- Fleur McDonald, Indigo Storm (Allen & Unwin)
- Fleur McDonald, Sapphire Falls (Allen & Unwin)
- Maurilia Meehan, 5 Ways to be Famous Now (Transit Lounge Publishing)
- Amanda Ortlepp, Running Against the Tide (Simon & Schuster Australia) Debut
- Caroline Overington, The One Who Got Away (HarperCollins Australia)
- L J M Owen, Mayan Mendacity (Bonnier Publishing Australia)
- Bronwyn Parry, Sunset Shadows (Hachette Australia)
- J M Peace, The Twisted Knot (Pan Macmillan Australia)
- Jan Pearson, Black Tortoise Winter (Proverse Hong Kong)
- Melissa Pouliot, You’ll Never Find Me (MP Media)
- Sarah Ridout, Le Chateau (Bonnier Publishing Australia) Debut
- Annie Seaton, Daintree (Pan Macmillan Australia)
- Janice Simpson, Murder in Mount Martha (Hybrid Publishers) Debut
- Angela Slatter, Vigil (Hachette Australia) Debut
- Anna Snoekstra, Only Daughter (Harlequin) Debut
- Marnie St Clair, Blue Steal (Escape Publishing) ebook
- Lili St Germain, Empire (HarperCollins Australia)
- Lili St Germain, Kingpin (HarperCollins Australia)
- Leigh Straw, The Call (Kennedy & Boyd)
- Holly Throsby, Goodwood (Allen & Unwin) Debut
- Nicole Trope, Blame (Allen & Unwin)
- Lesley Truffle, Hotel du Barry (HarperCollins Australia) Debut
- Ann Turner, Out of the Ice (Simon & Schuster Australia)
- Anna Westbrook, Dark Fires Shall Burn (Scribe Publications Australia) Debut
- Anna Willett, Backwoods Ripper (The Book Folks) Debut
- Anna Willett, Retribution Ridge (The Book Folks)
- Sue Williams, Dead Men Don’t Order Flake (Text Publishing)
- Laura Elizabeth Woollett, The Love of a Bad Man (Scribe Publications Australia) Debut
- Felicity Young, A Donation of Murder (HarperCollins Australia – Impulse Australia) ebook
Young Adult novels (11)
- Em Bailey, The Special Ones (Hardie Grant Egmont)
- Fleur Ferris, Black (Penguin Random House Australia)
- Alison Goodman, Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club (HarperCollins Australia)
- Megan Jacobson, Yellow (Penguin Random House Australia) Debut
- Catherine Jinks, Theophilus Grey and the Traitor’s Mask (Allen & Unwin)
- Saba Kapur, Lucky Me (Amberjack Publishing) Debut
- Justine Larbalestier, My Sister Rosa (Allen & Unwin)
- Nikki McWatters, Hexenhaus (University of Queensland Press) Debut
- Shivaun Plozza, Frankie (Penguin Random House Australia) Debut
- Nova Weetman, Everything is Changed (University of Queensland Press)
- Lili Wilkinson, The Boundless Sublime (Allen & Unwin)
Children’s novels (11)
- Leanne Hall, Iris and the Tiger (Text Publishing) Debut
- Jessica Miller, Elizabeth and Zenoba (Text Publishing) Debut
- Judith Rossell, Wormwood Mire: A Stella Montgomery intrigue (book #2) (HarperCollins Australia)
- R A Spratt, Friday Barnes 4: No rules (Penguin Random House Australia)
- Jen Storer, Truly Tan: Hoodwinked (HarperCollins Australia)
- Ailsa Wild, Squishy Taylor and a Question of Trust (Hardie Grant Egmont)
- Ailsa Wild, Squishy Taylor and the Bonus Sisters (Hardie Grant Egmont) Debut
- Alisa Wild, Squishy Taylor and the Mess Makers (Hardie Grant Egmont)
- Alisa Wild, Squishy Taylor and the Tunnel of Doom (Hardie Grant Egmont)
- Ailsa Wild, Squishy Taylor and the Vase That Wasn’t (Hardie Grant Egmont)
- Alisa Wild, Squishy Taylor in Zero Gravity (Hardie Grant Egmont)
Non-fiction books (14)
- Robin Bowles, Into the Darkness: The mysterious death of Phoebe Handsjuk (Scribe Publications Australia)
- Robin Bowles, Jail Birds (Bonnier Publishing Australia)
- Justine Ford, The Good Cop (Pan Macmillan Australia)
- Amanda Howard, Killer Australia: Death and destruction down under (Killing Time Books)
- Amanda Howard, Rope: The history of the hanged (New Holland Press)
- Rachel Landers, Who Bombed the Hilton? (Newsouth Books) Debut
- Wendy Lewis, Jailbreak: Australia’s most unforgettable prison escapes (Bonnier Publishing Australia)
- Megan Norris, Look What You Made Me Do: Fathers who kill (Bonnier Publishing Australia)
- Gabrielle O’Reilly and Liz Frame, Deadly Games: Kids who kill kids (Bonnier Publishing Australia) Debut
- Carolyn Pethick, To Hell and Back: A policewoman’s story (Sid Harta Publishers) Debut
- Leigh Straw, The Worst Woman in Sydney: The life and crimes of Kate Leigh (Newsouth Books)
- Sonya Voumard, The Media and the Massacre: Port Arthur 1996–2016 (Transit Lounge Publishing) Debut
- Emily Webb, Suburban Nightmare (Bonnier Publishing Australia)
- Ruth Wykes and Kylie Fox, Invisible Women (Bonnier Publishing Australia)