NZ author, Joanne Drayton, to present Sisters in Crime’s 19th Davitt Awards

Sisters in Crime is delighted to announce that award-winning New Zealand author, Joanne Drayton, will present its 19th Davitt Awards for the best crime books by Australian women.

The Davitts will be awarded at a gala dinner at Saturday 31 August, 6.30 for 7.00pm, at South Melbourne’s Rising Sun Hotel. The hotel, Sisters in Crime’s usual meeting place, will be decked out for the occasion with white table cloths, flowers and candles.

This year a record 127 books written by Australian women and published in 2018 are competing for the Davitts in six categories: Best Adult Crime Novel, Best Children’s Crime Novel, Best Young Adult Crime Novel, Best True Crime Book, Best Debut Book (any category) and Readers’ Choice (as judged by the members of Sisters in Crime). (Click here for details.)

Prior to the presentations, Dr Drayton will discuss her life in crime with Melbourne author (and serial Davitt winner) Emma Viskic.

National convenor, Carmel Shute, said that Dr Drayton was one of the stars of Rotorua Noir, New Zealand’s first crime writing convention (January 2019) and has won global recognition for her work.

“Dr Drayton is the biographer of New Zealand’s most famous crime writer, Ngaio Marsh, who at her peak in the 1930s, was one of the four ‘Queens of Crime’ dominating the genre, along with Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers and Margery Allingham, Ngaio Marsh: Her Life in Crime (2008) was a Christmas pick of the Independent newspaper when it was released in the UK in 2009,” she said.

Dr Drayton’s research then took her to the case of Juliet Hulme whom, in 1954, at the age of fifteen, was convicted of participating in the murde =r of her friend’s mother. The story was immortalised in Peter Jackson’s 1994 Oscar-nominated movie, Heavenly Creatures. Kate Winslet played Hulme. It was her screen debut and kickstarted her career. After serving her five-year sentence, Hulme changed her name to Anne Perry and has gone on to write over 50 Victorian-era mysteries that have sold more than 20 million copies internationally.

“Amazingly, Dr Drayton won the trust of the notoriously reticent Anne Perry and got her to open up. The result was The Search for Anne Perry (2012), which was numbered in the top 10 non-fiction books on the New York Times bestseller list in 2015, was a finalist in the NZ Book Awards in 2013; was the subject of a 60 Minutes program, and a cover story for the NZ Listener,” Shute said.

Dr Drayton’s latest book, Hudson & Halls: The Food of Love (2018), was a cover story for the NZ Listener and won the Royal Society Te Aparangi Award for General Non-fiction in May this year. Hudson and Halls were pioneering TV chefs in New Zealand who camped-up television in a repressed era, but they kept a lid on more than just their sexual orientation. The woman Halls believed to be his mother, Mary Ethel Hudson, ran an illegal abortion clinic in Melbourne and was tried for murder in 1926.

The Search for Anne Perry and Hudson & Halls have both been optioned for feature films.

Compere Emma Viskic has published her critically acclaimed Caleb Zelic series world-wide and it has won numerous awards. Resurrection Bay won the Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction and an unprecedented three Davitt Awards. It was shortlisted for the UK’s prestigious Gold Dagger and New Blood Awards and is currently nominated for a US Barry Award. And Fire Came Down won the 2018 Davitt Award (Best Crime Novel) and was longlisted for the Dublin International Literary Award. The third novel in the series, Darkness for Light, is due out in December 2019.

Swinburne University of Technology logo - media and communications departmentThe Davitt Awards are proudly supported by Swinburne University of Technology, Department of Media and Communication.

Sisters in Crime will announce the Davitt shortlist in mid-July.

Media comment: Carmel Shute, 0412 569 356;


19th Davitt Awards

Saturday 31 August, 6.30 for 7.00pm

The Rising Sun Hotel (upstairs – no lift), cnr Raglan Street and Eastern Road, South Melbourne.

Tickets: $60 (no concession). Drinks at bar prices. Men or ‘brothers-in-Law’ welcome.

Bookings essential by Wednesday 28 August:

Sun Bookshop stall: Members receive a 10% discount.