Mayday! Entries for the Davitts women’s crime book competition close May 1

Publishers have to Friday May 1 to enter Sisters in Crime Australia’s 15th Davitt Awards for the best crime and mystery books by Australian women.


Honey Brown – 2014 Davitt (Best Novel) winner

Six Davitt Awards will be presented at gala dinner in Melbourne on Saturday 29 August : Best Adult Novel; Best Young Adult; Best Children’s Novel; Best Non-fiction Book; Best Debut Book (any category); and Readers’ Choice (as voted the 650 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. A long list will be published in May, a shortlist in July.

The awards are handsome carved polished wooded trophies featuring the front cover of the winning novel under perspex. No prize money is attached.

Davitt judges’ wrangler, Jacqui Horwood, said that this year entries were expected to eclipse last year‘s record of 76 books in contention.

“Each year the judges are amazed by the high quality of writing amongst the women crime writers in Australia. Last year was memorable for a record number of entries for children’s mystery novels and the judges are hoping this trend continues.

“These books are the ones that encourage a new generation of crime and mystery readers. Many of us in Sisters in Crime spent our childhoods devouring Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven books – and it indelibly shaped (some may say warped) – our literary tastes.”

Horwood said that the Davitts have played a key role in getting women’s crime writing better recognised.

“The Davitts have also encouraged Australian publishers to take a punt on crime books produced by women locally, instead of just importing the latest blockbusters from overseas. It’s a gamble that has paid off.”

The judging panel for 2015 comprises forensic pathologist Dr Shelley Robertson; Readings Bookshop bookseller and writer Deborah Crabtree, Sisters in Crime national co-convenors, Maggie Baron, Jacqui Horwood, and Michaela Lobb and former convenor Sylvia Loader.

Previous Davitt Awards have been presented by 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 (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); Val McDermid (2003); , ACTU President Sharan Burrow (2002) and Chief Commissioner, Victoria Police (2001Christine Nixon,).

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.

To enter the Davitts, email Carmel Shute, Sisters in Crime, National Co-convenor on by May 1 Enquiries: 0449 703 503

Media comment: Jacqui Horwood on 0418 574 907;