Another big year for Sisters in Crime Australia  

Sisters in Crime Australia held its 2023 Annual General Meeting on Friday 13 October 2023, following its Killing Time event at South Melbourne’s Rising Sun Hotel.

Sisters in Crime’s President, Moraig Kisler, is taking a year’s break and acted as the returning officer, as well as chairing the meeting.

She declared the election unopposed of six convenors Lindy Cameron, Lesley Gillis, Carmel Shute, Kelly Gardiner (left) *, Ruth Wykes* (below), and Leslie Falkiner-Rose (further below)*. Official positions were also elected unopposed with the following results: President: Kelly Gardiner; Vice-President: Lindy Cameron; Secretary: Carmel Shute and Treasurer: Lesley Gillis.

Secretary Carmel Shute reported that nationally Sisters in Crime now has 576 paid-up members. With supporters, the mailing list for the monthly newsletter, A Stab in the Dark, is now a record 4144.

“We trust you enjoy Stabby, as we convenors call it, and our Facebook and other social media posts. BTW – when lockdown started, I started posting about crime shows, nearly all with female protagonists. I am now up to 413 posts. So much TV crime! So much viewing pleasure,” she said.

She reported that Sisters in Crime held a stack of events in Victoria – 10 at the Rising Sun plus an event with the Kingston Library and another in Maryborough for the Words in Winter Festival. In June, the Melbourne Athenaeum Library, a long-term supporter of the Scarlet Stiletto Awards, hosted the launch of the 30th awards and wonderful readings of the past two years’ winning ‘body in the library’ stories, thanks to Leigh Redhead and Susanna Lobez.

“Last year’s Scarlet Stiletto Award ceremony with Troppo star, Nicole Chamoun was a joyous occasion, especially since almost everyone went ‘troppo’ with their attire. As mentioned earlier, this year we asking everyone to come along on 25 November in scarlet and pearls, the 30th anniversary gift, “ Carmel said.

“The Davitt Awards last month were a sell-out with 144 books battling it out for the six awards on offer. Debi Marshall, the investigative true crime reporter and broadcaster, told us some very confronting stories, including how the murder of her partner set her on the true crime course.

“We were chuffed when our Radio National’s Big Ideas recorded and broadcast our 17th Law Week event, Boys Behaving Badly and what to do about it.”

Carmel reported that the chapters in Queensland, NSW, Tasmania, and South Australia had also held several events, though it’s been a bit quiet.

“They could do with more active support from local members. The Tasmanian Chapter convenor, LJM Owen is also the director of the Terror Australis crime writers’ festival in Tasmania. Master classes are about to start, including with Ann Cleeves, with the big talkfest getting underway at the end of the month,” she said.

“One of the great initiatives this year has been Scarlet Stiletto Bites: Scintillating stories by Australian women. It was the brilliant idea of Susanna Lobez, who has been narrating all the top winning stories from 1994 in the lead-up to the 30th Scarlet Stiletto Award ceremony on 25 November. She is a fabulous reader – she can do all the voices! They’re free and posted on Fridays on Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon and other services.”

The monthly Murder Monday one-on-one author interviews have had a new lease of life, Carmel said.

“The new interviewer is the effusive Jacq Ellem, a Tasmanian member, and she has introduced us to little-known authors such as Raquel V Reyes, author of the Caribbean Kitchen Mystery Series featuring a Latina sleuth. There are now 52 Murder Mondays available on our YouTube channel.

“The monthly Crime Stack, where publishers donate 20 copies of books to members. has proved a big winner. Winners are chosen by algorithm – however, amazingly quite a few members have had two or three wins, sometimes in successive months! One of the quirks, the many quirks, of AI.”

Sisters in Crime is supporting the impressive work on AI being undertaken by the Australian Society of Authors. We need to be both alert and alarmed, Carmel said.

Another initiative was to declare Sisters in Crime’s support for The Voice. The mission of Sisters in Crime has always been to give a voice to those without. We feel that it is now time for the First Nation Australians to have a Voice. Hundreds of Australian writers, agents, booksellers, and publishers supported the Writers for the Voice initiative which was started by Nicole Abadee and Jane Novak, a Sydney Sisters in Crime member. A sleuth of Sisters in Crime author members had also signed up.

The report concluded with thanks to the convenors who have served over the past 12 months and the many volunteers and supporters who keep Sisters in Crime ticking over.

To read the full Secretary’s report, go here.

The report from Treasurer Lesley Gillis said that, for the period 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023, there was an operating income of $68,894 and an operating expenditure of $60,221 giving us an operating profit of $8,083. “Overall, I believe the funds of Sisters in Crime are in a reasonably healthy shape to proceed into the forthcoming financial year.”

To read the full Treasurer’s report in full, go here. ___________________________________________________________________________________________

*Kelly Gardiner: writes historical fiction for all ages. Her latest series is The Firewatcher Chronicles and her other books include 1917, shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Young People’s History Prize; Act of Faith and The Sultan’s Eyes, both shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards; and the Swashbuckler pirate trilogy. Goddess, a novel based on the life of the queer, sword-fighting cross-dressing opera star, Mademoiselle de Maupin, is being adapted for the screen.

*Ruth Wykes: is an author and editor. She has co-authored two true crime books: Women Who Kill with Lindy Cameron and Invisible Women with Kylie Fox. In 2016 she won the coveted Scarlet Stiletto short story competition. In her previous life in Perth Ruth owned an independent monthly lesbian magazine, Women Out West, which she published for almost a decade. In 2023 Ruth was on the judging panel for the Davitt Awards and enjoyed the richness and diversity of Australian women crime writers.

*Leslie Falkiner-Rose: spends her days creating digital content, strategic communications, writing books, working on philanthropic ventures, and wrangling three ducks. Over several decades she worked as a print and broadcast journalist for The Age newspaper, ABC TV, and many other Australian and international media organisations. Now she is deep in the crime novel she promised to finish in her 97-year-old mother’s lifetime. Leslie has a Diploma in Financial Planning, a Master of Philanthropy and Social Investment, and is a Graduate of The Australian Institute of Company Directors.