A long longlist for the Davitt Awards

Thirty-three books have made it to Sisters in Crime’s longlist for its 23rd Davitt Awards for the best crime and mystery books published by women in 2022.

“It’s a long longlist,” admitted Judging coordinator, Dr Philomena Horsley, “but the overall number of books competing is 144, including a formidable 101 adult novels. And what’s even more remarkable is the standard of the writing.

“It’s been a Herculean task for the six judges – so many good books have missed the cut. Such an embarrassment of riches. Australian women’s crime writing is riding a huge wave that has left our shores and is now sweeping around the world.”

This year the Davitts are again supported by Swinburne University of Technology.

Six Davitt Awards will be presented at a gala dinner at South Melbourne’s Rising Sun Hotel on Saturday 2 September by Walkley-award-winning investigative journalist and true-crime author, Debi Marshall: Best Adult Novel; Best Young Adult Novel; Best Children’s Novel; Best Non-fiction Book; Best Debut Book (any category); and Readers’ Choice (as voted the 600+ members of Sisters in Crime Australia). Prior to the awards presentation, Debi will be in conversation with true crime author and podcaster, Emily Webb. (Booking details to come.)

Dr Horsley said that many of the books open up new worlds.

Tracey Lien’s book, All That Left Unsaid, transports us to the Vietnamese world of Cabramatta in the mid-nineties, a revealing and compelling portrait of an immigrant society grappling simultaneously with trauma and the desire to fit in and create new futures,” she said.

“The Cut by Susan White exposes the shocking institutional misogyny pervading the world of surgery. The Torrent, Dinuka McKenzie’s debut novel, offers a fresh view on the police procedural – her cop is highly pregnant and a woman of colour.

“In other books, such as N D Campbell’s Daughters of Eve, Jane Caro’s The Mother, Margaret Hickey’s Stone Town and Dervla McTiernan’s The Murder Rule, women take justice into their own hands. Interestingly, the Country Women’s Association plays surprising roles in both Stone Town and Vikki Petraitis’ debut novel, The Unbelieved.

Dr Horsley said that the trend of setting books in the bush or by the beach continued unabated.

“One small difference is that ‘rural noir’, as it’s often known, often now draws on history to propel the narrative. The Cane, by Maryrose Cuskelly, is set in the cane fields of northern Queensland and draws its inspiration from the real-life disappearance of a teenage girl in the early seventies. The events of the past are also key to Hayley Scrivenor’s, Dirt Town.”

“Yet again,” Dr Horsley said, “the children’s crime novels were a delight, so many original themes, so much whacky humour. The middle-grade books are edgier than those aimed at younger readers but not quite as ‘out there’ as many Young Adult books. Younger readers will find so much enjoyment.”

Dr Horsley said that at least one of the longlisted Davitt authors had signed a contract for her book to be made into a television series.

Two books deal with COVID and the lockdowns.

Voting for the Readers’ Award Choice closes Friday 28 July, 11.59 pm. Information here.

A shortlist will be published later this month.

The longlist is pasted in below and it’s also available as a pdf.

Media comment: Philomena Horsley on 0417 121 771; philomenah1@aol.com

More info: Carmel Shute, Secretary & National Co-convenor, Sisters in Crime Australia, on 0412 569 356.


DAVITT LONGLIST (The pdf is here.)

Adult novels (18)

N D Campbell, Daughters of Eve (Allen & Unwin) Debut

Jane Caro, The Mother (Allen & Unwin) Debut

Lucy Christopher, Release (Text Publishing)

Aoife Clifford, When We Fall (Ultimo Press)

Maryrose Cuskelly, The Cane (Allen & Unwin) Debut

Kerry Greenwood, Murder in Williamstown (Allen & Unwin)

Margaret Hickey, Stone Town (Penguin Random House Australia)

Julie Janson, Madukka the River Serpent (UWA Publishing)

Tracey Lien, All That’s Left Unsaid (HQ Fiction) Debut

Fleur McDonald, Broad River Station (Allen & Unwin)

Dinuka McKenzie, The Torrent (HarperCollins Publishing Australia) Debut

Dervla McTiernan, The Murder Rule (HarperCollins Publishing Australia)

Mercedes Mercier, White Noise (HarperCollins Publishing Australia) Debut

Vikki Petraitis, The Unbelieved (Allen & Unwin) Debut

Sally Piper, Bone Memories (University of Queensland Press)

Hayley Scrivenor, Dirt Town (Pan Macmillan Australia) Debut

Emma Styles, No Country for Girls (Sphere, an imprint of Hachette Australia) Debut

Susan White, Cut (Affirm Press)

Young Adult novels (3)

Louise Bassett, The Hidden Girl (Walker Books) Debut

Sarah Epstein, Night Lights (Fourteen Press)

Ellie Marney, The Killing Code (Allen & Unwin)

Children’s novels (7)

Deborah Abela, The Book of Wondrous Possibilities (Puffin, an imprint of Penguin Random House Australia)

Charlie Archbold, The Sugarcane Kids and the Red-bottomed Boat (Text Publishing)

Fleur Ferris, Seven Days (Penguin Random House Australia)

Emily Gale, The Goodbye Year (Text Publishing)

Nicki Greenberg, The Detective’s Guide to New York City (Affirm Press)

Lian Tanner, Rita’s Revenge (Allen & Unwin)

Sue Whiting, Pearly and Pig and the Great Hairy Beast (Walker Books)

Non-fiction (5)

Wendy Davis, Don’t Make a Fuss: It’s only the Claremont Serial Killer (Fremantle Press) Debut

Meg Foster, Boundary Crossers: The hidden history of Australia’s other bushrangers (NewSouth Books) Debut

Ellis Gunn, Rattled (Allen & Unwin) Debut

Katrina Marson, Legitimate Sexpectations: The power of sex-ed (Scribe Publications)

Megan Norris, Out of the Ashes (Big Sky Publishing)