Booktopia to sponsor the 16th Davitt Awards for best crime books

“Women’s crime writing is on a huge wave and we should all be catching it,” says CEO Tony Nash.

Booktopia, Australian pre-eminent online bookseller, has announced it will sponsor this year’s Sisters in Crime’s Davitt Awards for Best Crime Books.

CEO Tony Nash says it’s a natural fit.

“A sizeable proportion of the four million books sold by Booktopia each year are crime and Sisters in Crime members are passionate readers and book buyers, bordering on the obsessive I’m told,” Nash said.

“As a rule, women buy and read more books than men do. They also find that crime fiction is one of the best (and most enjoyable) ways of exploring issues of relevance to their lives. Crime novels are often page turners and justice is usually served, adding to the reading pleasure.”

Nash said that one of Booktopia’s missions was to support Australian writers.

“The Davitt Awards have done an impressive job in convincing Australian publishers to back local women crime writers and not just import the latest blockbusters. In 2001, when the awards started, only seven books were in contention – this year it’s 77, more than a 10 fold increase,’ he said.

“Women’s crime writing is on a huge wave and we should all be catching it.”

Jacqui Horwood, the Davitt Judges wrangler, said that Sisters in Crime was thrilled with Booktopia’s sponsorship of the Davitt Awards, now celebrating their 16th anniversary.

“While it’s no longer the case that women writers don’t get a look in at the Ned Kelly crime writing awards, having Booktopia’s sponsorship will do a huge amount to boost the profile and prestige of the Davitt Awards and women crime writers more generally,” she said.

In 2014 Booktopia won the Telstra Medium Sized Business Award for NSW. The company has won countless other awards including Australia’s number 1 online bookstore and is currently Australia’s Favourite Bookstore as voted by the Australian public.

Liane Moriarty credit Uber Photography lr2016Horwood said she was also thrilled to announce that the Davitt Awards will be presented by Australian crime writer Liane Moriarty at a gala dinner at Melbourne’s Thornbury Theatre on Saturday 27 August, 7pm. After talking about her ‘life in crime’ with true crime author Vikki Petraitis, Moriarty will present six awards : 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).

Moriarty won last year’s Davitt (Best Adult Novel) for Big Little Lies, which has sold over one million copies in the US alone. Moriarty became the first Australian author to have a novel debut at number one on the New York Times bestseller list. Rights have been acquired by Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon who are both taking roles in the TV production, scripted by David E Kelley, with HBO winning the screen rights, after a battle with Netflix.

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 2016 comprises:

  • Jacqui Horwood: Horwood is a librarian with the Brimbank and Maribyrnong Library Services. She likes her crime hard boiled and her eggs sunny side up.
  • Maggie Baron: A former forensic scientist and avid crime reader, Baron brings a strong analytical perspective to the craft of judging.
  • Michaela Lobb: Lobb formerly worked as a proof reader for freelance writers and has a degree in journalism and writing and certificates in editing and publishing. She began her career as a devoted crime reader at age 11 when she transitioned from Trixie Belden to Agatha Christie.
  • Deborah Crabtree: Crabtree is a writer, reviewer and bookseller at Readings Carlton. An ex-Kill City dame and past Ned Kelly judge, Crabtree has returned to the literary crime scene to check out how the sisters do it and whether they can get away with it.
  • Deb Force: Force is the owner of the Sun Bookshop and The Younger Sun in the heart of glorious Yarraville. Force was recently named joint winner of Australian Book Associations Text Publishing Bookseller of the Year. Force has always been keen on Sister Crime writers. It all began with Enid Blyton’s Famous Five….
  • Debbie Stephen: Stevens is a career forensic scientist specialising in drug analysis and toxicology. Her partner is a serving police officer and expert crime scene investigator. Despite all that, there is still nothing she likes more than curling up with a good crime book.

Previous Davitt Awards have been presented by UK crime writer Sophie Hannah; South African crime writer Lauren Beukes (2014); New Zealand crime writer Vanda Symons (2013); Swedish crime writer Ǻsa Larsson (2012); Singaporean 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 24 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.

Voting by Sisters in Crime members on the Davitt (Readers’ Choice) will close on Sunday 23 July. Book for the Davitts Award ceremony by midnight Tuesday 23 August:

A short list will be announced mid-July.

The long list follows.

Media comment: Jacqui Horwood on 0449 703 503;


 Davitt Awards – Long List 2016

Adult novels (47)

  • Louisa Bennet Monty and Me (HarperCollins Australia)
  • Deborah Burrows, A Time of Secrets (Pan Macmillan Australia)
  • Anne Buist, Medea’s Curse: Natalie King, Forensic Psychiatrist (Text Publishing) Debut
  • Alice Campion, The Painted Sky (Penguin Random House)
  • Tania Chandler, Please Don’t Leave Me Here (Scribe) Debut
  • Lee Christine, A Dangerous Arrangement (Harlequin)
  • Kat Clay, Double Exposure (Crime Factory) Debut
  • Shannon Curtis, Runaway Lies (Harlequin)
  • Caroline de Costa, Double Madness (Margaret River Press) Debut
  • C. M. Elliott, Sibanda and the Death Head Moth (Jacana Media)
  • Helen Fitzgerald, The Exit (Faber & Faber/Allen & Unwin)
  • Candice Fox, Fall (Penguin Random House)
  • Sulari Gentill, Give the Devil His Due (Pantera Press)
  • Helen Goltz, Death by Disguise: A Jesse Clarke novel (Atlas Productions)
  • Helen Goltz, The Clairvoyant’s Glasses (Atlas Productions)
  • J. M. Green, Good Money (Scribe) Debut
  • Amanda Howard, Ritual: A thousand cuts (Killing Time Books)
  • Katherine Howell, Tell the Truth (Pan Macmillan Australia)
  • Anna Jacquiery, Death in the Rainy Season (Pan Macmillan Australia)
  • Gail Jones, A Guide to Berlin (Penguin Random House)
  • Kylie Kaden, Missing You (Penguin Random House)
  • Carolyn Little, Bergstrom’s Orange (Short Stop Press)
  • Sophie Masson, Trinity: The false prince (Momentum Press)
  • Fleur McDonald, Emerald Springs (Allen & Unwin)
  • L. J. M. Owen, Olmec Obiturary: Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth (Echo Publishing) Debut
  • Bronwyn Parry, Storm Clouds (Hachette Australia)
  • J. M. Peace, Time to Run (Pan Macmillan Australia) Debut
  • Jan Pearson, Tiger Autumn (Proverse, Hong Kong)
  • Elisabeth Rose, Empty Heart (Harlequin)
  • Annie Seaton, Kakadu Sunset (Pan Macmillan Australia)
  • Dorothy Simmons, Living like a Kelly (Tantanoola)
  • Vanessa Skye, Bloodlines (The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House)
  • Michelle Somers, Lethal in Love (Penguin Random House)
  • Lili St Germain, Cartel (Harper Collins Australia)
  • D B Tait, Cold Deception (Dark Mountain#1) (Momentum) (e-book) Debut
  • D B Tait, Desperate Deception (Dark Mountain#2) (Momentum) (e-book)
  • Kendall Talbot, Double Take (Harlequin)
  • Kendall Talbot, Treasured Lies (Harlequin)
  • Kendall Talbot, Treasured Secrets (Harlequin)
  • Pauline Toohey, My Rickety Metronome (Indigo Dreams Publishing) Debut
  • Nicole Trope, Hush, Little Bird (Allen & Unwin)
  • Ann Turner, The Lost Swimmer (Simon & Schuster) Debut
  • Sandy Vaile, Inherited Fear (Crimson Romance) e book
  • Emma Viskic, Resurrection Bay (Echo Publishing) Debut
  • Felicity Young, The Insanity of Murder (HarperCollins Australia) (e-book)
  • Helene Young, Northern Heat (Penguin Random House)

Young Adult Novels (9)

  • Kathryn Barker, In the Skin of a Monster (Allen & Unwin) Debut
  • Fleur Ferris, Risk (Penguin Random House) Debut
  • Sue Lawson, Freedom Ride (Black Dog Books)
  • Rebecca Lim, Afterlight (Text Publishing)
  • Ellie Marney, Every Move (Allen & Unwin)
  • Maureen McCarthy, Stay with Me (Allen & Unwin)
  • Dianne Touchell, Small Madness (Allen & Unwin) Debut
  • Frances Watts, The Peony Lantern (HarperCollins Australia)
  • Gabrielle Williams, The Guy, the Girl, the Artist and His Ex (Allen & Unwin) Debut

Children’s Novels (8)

  • C. M. Gray, Zombiefied! Book#1 (HarperCollins Australia) Debut
  • Susan Green, Verity Sparks and the Scarlet Hand (Walker Books Australia)
  • Julie Hun, KidGlovz (Allen & Unwin)
  • Catherine Jinks, Theophilus Grey and the Demon Thief (Allen & Unwin)
  • Meg McKinlay, A Single Stone (Walker Press)
  • Sally Rippin, Billie B Brown’s Big Book of Mysteries (Hardie Grant Egmont)
  • R. A. Spratt, Friday Barnes 2: Under Suspicion (Penguin Random House)
  • R.A. Spratt, Friday Barnes 3: Big Trouble (Penguin Random House)

Non Fiction (14)

  • Carol Baxter, Black Widow (Allen & Unwin)
  • Debbie Benson, Judicial Murder: The Crown vs David Young (Eaglehawk Press) Debut
  • Robin Bowles, Smoke and Mirrors:a tragedy of love and murder (Echo Publishing)
  • Cheryl Critchley and Helen McGrath, Why Did They Do It? (Pan Macmillan Australia)
  • Justine Ford, Unsolved Australia (Pan Macmillan Australia)
  • Victoria Heywood, Every Move You Make (Echo Publishing)
  • Kate Kyriacou, The Sting (Echo Publishing) Debut
  • Vikki Petraitis, Dog Squad (Penguin Random House)
  • Alecia Simmonds, Wildman (Affirm Press)
  • Sue Smethurst, Behind Closed Doors (Simon & Schuster)
  • Sofija Stefanovic, You’re Just Too Good to Be True (Penguin Random House) Debut
  • Lucy Sussex, Blockbuster: Fergus Hume and the mystery of a hansom Cab (Text Publishing)
  • Emily Webb, Angels of Death: Disturbing Real-life cases of nurses and doctors who kill (The Five Mile Press)
  • Juliet Wills, Dirty Girl: The state sanctioned murder of brothel madam Shirley Finn (Alto Books)