Crime spike – 25 stories shortlisted for Sisters in Crime’s 30th Scarlet Stiletto Awards

Sisters in Crime Australia is proud to announce that 25 stories by 25 authors have been shortlisted for its 30th Scarlet Stiletto Awards for best short stories written by Australian women. This year a record 250 stories are vying for a record $12,720 in prize money.

The shortlisted authors come from all over Australia: In alphabetical order, they are: June Barnes-Rowley (VIC); Chris Blackford (QLD); Josephine Brick (VIC); Jude Bridge (WA); Georgina Coleman (VIC); Natalie Conyer (NSW); Kellie Cox (QLD); Vicky Daddo (VIC); Caroline De Costa (VIC); Rebecca Douglas (SA); Cheryl Fairclough (VIC); Kim Graham (VIC); Jacqui Horwood (VIC); Tegan Huntley (WA); Sharmila Jayasinghe (NSW); Sandra Jones (VIC); Athena Law (QLD); Eva Leppard (TAS); Alyssa Mackay (QLD); Kerri Major (NSW); Alison Pascoe (NSW); Cheryl Rogers (WA); Romany Rzechowicz (ACT); Kim Robyn Smith (VIC); and Jacqueline Warner (WA).

Awards are presented in the following categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Young Writer (under 19), Campus Crime; Art and Crime; ‘Body in The Library’ (including runner-up); Most Satisfying Retribution; Mystery with History; Malice Domestic; Cross-Genre; Thriller; Great Film Idea; and Best Disabled Protagonist.

All authors receive a framed certificate and, if lucky, they also win one of the 15 prizes on offer. The first-prize winner also scores a spectacular trophy – a scarlet stiletto shoe with a steel stiletto heel plunging into a mount.

Scarlet Stiletto judging coordinator, Professor Christina Lee, a two-time shoe winner, said it was a wonderful experience to read such a variety of enjoyable stories this year.

“The number of entries was the highest ever, and the level of originality, suspense and humour was outstanding. As usual, most writers focused on murder, but this year brought a lot of financial crimes – theft, fraud, embezzlement – and we also saw an increased focus on the criminal possibilities of AI and robotics,” she said.

“The new Campus Crime category was well represented, while old favourites such as Body in the Library and Cross Genre had us on the edges of our seats. A sincere thank you to everyone who entered this year.”

The 30th Scarlet Stiletto Awards ceremony will be held on Saturday 25 November, 6 for 6.30 pm, at Rising Sun Hotel, 2 Raglan Street, South Melbourne. (Bookings details to come.)

It will be hosted by Professor Sue Turnbull, Sisters in Crime’s Ambassador-at-large. The presenter is still to be confirmed. The dress code is scarlet with pearls, the traditional 30th anniversary gift.

The winning stories will be published in Scarlet Stiletto: The Fifteenth Cut, edited by Phyllis King, to be launched at the ceremony along with a paperback of the winning stories over the past 30 years, Scarlet Stiletto: Thirty Years of Mystery, Murder and Malice, edited by Lindy Cameron.  

The Scarlet Stiletto Awards national short story competition was established in 1994. To date, 4322 stories have been entered with 34 Scarlet Stiletto Award trophy or category winners going on to have books published: Cate Kennedy, Tara Moss, Annie Hauxwell, Angela Savage, Natalie Conyer, Fin J. Ross, Anna Snoekstra, Josephine Pennicott, Ellie Marney, Sarah Evans, Inga Simpson, Alex Palmer, Liz Filleul, Margaret Bevege, Patricia Bernard, Bronwen Blake, Jo McGahey, Cheryl Jorgensen, Kylie Fox, Simmone Howell, Emilie Collyer, Sandi Wallace, Aoife Clifford, Amanda Wrangles, Lois Murphy, Janis Spehr, TJ Hamilton, Dawn Farnham, Natalie Conyer, Fin J Ross, Anna Snoekstra, Suzanne Frankham, Julianne Negri, Hayley Camille, Veronica Lando, Louise Bassett and.

The competition prizes are kindly sponsored by Swinburne University of Technology; Simon & Schuster; Melbourne Athenaeum; Every Cloud Productions; Writers Victoria; Sun Bookshop; Fremantle Press; Allen & Unwin; HQ Fiction; Clan Destine Press; Monash University; ScriptWorks; Kerry Greenwood; the Brisbane Chapter of Sisters in Crime; and the late Viliama Grakalic.

More info on the Scarlet Stiletto Awards:

Media comment: Professor Christina Lee,; 0424 003 285

More information: Carmel Shute, Secretary & National Co-convenor,; 0412 569 356