National Convenors

Kelly Gardiner

Kelly Gardiner


Kelly Gardiner writes historical fiction, fantasy and crime 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.

Kelly is an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at La Trobe University. She served as a convenor in 2019-2020.


Lindy Cameron

Vice President. Chair, Membership Committee

An independent publisher and crime writer, Lindy is author of the Kit O’Malley PI trilogy Blood GuiltBleeding Hearts and Thicker Than Water; the archaeological mystery Golden Relic; the action thriller Redback; and the sf crime Feedback.

She’s co-author, with Fin J Ross, of the true crime collections: Toxic: Cold-blooded Australian Murders; and Killer in the Family.

Lindy’s had the great honour of co-writing two short stories with Kerry Greenwood. Both feature Harriet Brookes: ‘A Wild Colonial’ for Sherlock Holmes: The Australian Casebook and ‘The Saltwater Battle’ for War of the Worlds: Battleground Australia.

She is also the Editor of Who Sleuthed It? an anthology of crime fiction featuring an international cast of writers and starring a host of animal sleuths.

Lindy is a founding member of Sisters in Crime Australia, and the Publisher of Clan Destine Press.

Carmel Shute headshot

Carmel Shute

Secretary and Chair, Industry Liaison and Awards Committee

Carmel is the inimitable powerhouse behind Sisters in Crime, but we couldn’t possibly place her way down an alphabetical list (although she assures us she doesn’t mind) so we are breaking with convention and listing our fabulous convenors in order of convening years.

Carmel helped found Sisters in Crime Australia in 1991 and has been a national convenor ever since. She was inspired by the new wave of feminist crime writers, including Sara Paretsky who founded Sisters in Crime in 1986 at Bouchercon, the premier US crime writing convention. Carmel loves the combination of politics, suspense, good writing and fun that women’s crime writing and Sisters in Crime has brought to her life.

Carmel is an historian by trade, has worked as a union organiser at the ABC, and a media officer in local government and the trade union movement. She runs her own PR business Shute the Messenger. Carmel currently holds the position of Secretary.

Lesley Gillis headshot

Lesley Gillis


Lesley holds a Bachelor of Business with a major in Accounting. She has worked in a few industries (i.e. banking, confectionary, legal and the trucking industry) during her working life prior to taking her undergraduate degree and joining the public service. She is now a retired public servant and has recently moved back to Melbourne from Canberra where she spent most of her public service life. In her last job she managed a budget of $1.4 billion.

Lesley has been a keen horse rider, dressage judge and competition organiser, and still attends some large international competitions. For 25 years she was treasurer of the ACT Dressage Association and the National Capital Equestrian Association.

From an early age she cut her reading teeth on the old Mistresses of Crime – Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Ngaio Marsh and Marjory Allingham – and some American crime fiction notably Rex Stout and Raymond Chandler. She also reads science fiction, fantasy and travel memoirs. She has no intentions of ever writing a novel, preferring to enjoy others’ stories.

Ruth Wykes

Ruth Wykes


Ruth Wykes is an author and editor who lives on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. Ruth has co-authored two true crime books: Women Who Kill with Lindy Cameron and Invisible Women with Kylie Fox.

Ruth works as an independent editor and mentor and is currently writing fiction. 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. She has taken over Moraig Kisler as review editor.

In her free time Ruth enjoys coffee with friends, gardening, reading and writing, robust conversations, AFL football and attempting the occasional home renovation project. But Betty the Builder she is not, and some of her creations are unique. She shares her life with her cats, as well as the ringtail possums and various random wildlife that inhabit her back yard.

Leslie Falkiner-Rose

Leslie Falkiner-Rose


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.

Leslie’s non-fiction books include Women Talking Money (Wiley); contributions of true crime stories in the Outside the Law 2 and 3 anthologies (Five Mile Press); Tell Us: What are you doing? Improving how you communicate your academic research, relevance and expertise (Australian Business Deans Council 2022) and Why us? Why not. Keeping on with cancer, humour and hope (Clan Destine Press 2023).

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.

State Convenors


Val Marsden

Western Australia

Val Marsden is a retired public servant (as indeed are almost all of the Perth Sisters!), feminist, recreational cyclist, amateur photographer and, above all, lifetime reader.

Siobhan Mullany and Alexandra Larach

New South Wales

Siobhan Mullany is a Sydney-based writer. She worked as a criminal defence lawyer and is a past winner of the Scarlet Stiletto Award.  Her non-fiction has been published in legal journals and her short stories published by Sisters in Crime. She also reviews TV crime shows for Sisters in Crime.

Alexandra Larach is a Sydney based event manager and writer. She has yet to publish her debut novel but loves talking about the writing process and discussing your various thoughts and theories on new ideas.

Alexandra has been working in the for-purpose industry for the past five years and carries the tenets of the sector in everything she does. Having studied a Masters in policing, intelligence and counter terrorism Alexandra is fascinated by human behaviour and the judicial process.

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Samantha Battams

South Australia

Samantha Battams has worked as a public health researcher and teacher, consultant, health service administrator and community development worker. She has a passion for history, travel, French language, reading and writing. Apart from studies in psychology, sociology and public health, she studied English literature at university.

Samantha recently published two books: a true crime tale about the notorious 19th-century Richmond Poisoner (The Secret Art of Poisoning, 2019, self-published); and, with Les Parsons, a biography on 20th-century South Australian pioneer aviator Harry Butler (The Red Devil, 2019, Wakefield Press). She is currently working on the sequel to her first novel. Samantha joined Sisters in Crime in 2019 and was keen to start up the Adelaide chapter.

Megan Norris


Megan Norris is a UK-trained journalist and multi-published, award-winning non fiction author who has covered some of Australia’s most infamous crimes.

Her exclusive coverage of the Port Arthur shootings, the Melbourne gangland wars and Bali bombings have graced the front covers of national media and have been syndicated worldwide.

Megan’s debut book, Perfect Victim, co-authored with Elizabeth Southall, is now a movie starring Sam Neill, Miranda Otto and Guy Pearce called In Her Skin.

A former court reporter, Megan has become a vocal advocate for the survivors of violent crimes – particularly family homicides. Her third book, On Father’s Day, which chronicled the harrowing journey of Melbourne mother, Cindy Gambino, following the revenge murders of her children by her violent ex-husband – Robert Farquharson – was launched by Domestic Violence Victoria and Steve Fontana, the Assistant Police Commissioner of Victoria Police. Her latest book is Out of the Ashes (Big Sky Publishing) and slated for 2023 is The Messiah’s Bride (Penguin Random House).

LJM Owen


LJM Owen is a multi-award winning crime and mystery writer. She wrote Olmec Obituary (2015), Mayan Mendacity (2016), Egyptian Enigma (2018) and the standalone The Great Divide (2019), the latter long-listed for the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards. At the 2020 Scarlet Stiletto Awards she won the Scriptworks Award for a Great Film Idea, the Liz Navratil Award for Best Story with a Disabled Protagonist, and the International Association of Forensic Linguists Award for Best Forensic Linguistics Story.

L.J. is the founder and director of the Terror Australis Readers and Writers Festival in the glorious Huon Valley. She is a passionate advocate of Australian and New Zealand crime and mystery fiction and, at home in Tasmania, a staunch supporter of emerging writers and adult literacy.

Past national convenors

Sisters in Crime has had many convenors – each has given generously of their time and talents, for which we thank them.

Special recognition in the form of Lifetime Membership has been awarded to the following women who were convenors for 10 years or longer:

  • Robin Bowles
  • Phyllis King
  • Cathy Martin
  • the late Vivienne Colmer
  • Sue Turnbull
  • Ann Byrne
  • Caz Brown