Record $9350 on offer for the 22nd Scarlet Stiletto Awards Crime Short Story Competition

Every Cloud Productions, the producers of the internationally-acclaimed crime drama,Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, has just added another feather to its cloche: sponsorship of the $1500 first prize in the 22nd Scarlet Stiletto Awards, Sisters in Crime Australia’s annual short story competition.

Fiona Eagger, who producesMiss Fisher’s Murder Mysterieswith Every Cloud’s co-founder Deb Cox, said that they were only too delighted to support women’s literary talent of the criminal bent.

“We’re huge fans of the crime genre. Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is based on the path-breaking novels of Kerry Greenwood, a founding member of Sisters in Crime back in 1991. Essie Davis, who plays our twenties’ sleuth, Phryne Fisher, presented the Scarlet Stiletto Awards before a capacity crowd in 2013. The year before, the costume designer, Marion Boyce, and Kerry did the honours,” Eagger said.

“Sisters in Crime members have been some of the most ardent fans of our show and led a campaign to persuade the ABC to commission a third series. So there’s a certain synchronicity in Every Cloud offering more direct support to the Scarlet Stiletto Awards.”

National Co-convenor, Michaela Lobb, said Sisters in Crime was thrilled with this top level support.

“We’re on cloud nine. It’s the first time the Scarlet Stiletto Awards have secured the support of a television production company. The fact that it’s the producers of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, a show so loved and admired by our members, makes it even more thrilling,” Lobb said.

“We’re also excited that Echo Publishing, the new adult publishing wing of The Five Mile Press, is the sponsor for 2nd prize ($1000). HarperCollins Publishing is offering a new award for romantic suspense ($500).

A record $9350 is on offer this year – up $650 from last year. Stories must have a crime or mystery theme, a female protagonist and a female author. The awards are amongst the richest short story competitions in Australia.

As well receiving Every Cloud Productions’ 1st Prize of $1500, the overall winner is presented with the coveted trophy, a scarlet stiletto withits steel heel plunging into a perspex mount.

Melbourne’s Athenaeum Library is again offering a prize of $1000 and a runner-up prize of $500 for the best short story that includes the words ‘body in the library’.

Other awards include:

  • The Sun Bookshop Award: 3rd Prize: $500
  • Allen & Unwin Award for Best Young Writer (under 18):$500
  • Josephine Pennicott Award for Best Indigenous Writer:$500
  • Kerry Greenwood Award for Best Malice Domestic Story:$750
  • HarperCollins Publishers Award for Best Romantic Suspense Story:$500
  • Scarlet Stiletto Award for Best Environmental Crime Story:$500
  • Scarlet Stiletto Award for Best Financial Crime Story:$500
  • Arena Magazine Award for a Well-loaded Political Story:$500
  • Clan Destine Press Award for Best Cross-genre Story:$400
  • Liz Navratil Award for Best Disabled Protagonist Award: $400 (up $150)
  • Benn’s Books Award for Best Investigative Story:$200
  • Scriptworks Award for a Great Film Idea:$200

Arena Magazine will publish the winning story in its category.

Lobb said Sisters in Crime was delighted with the increased prize money but, most especially, with the success of the awards in unearthing so much literary criminal talent over the past two decades.

To date, 2,735 stories have been entered with 19 Scarlet Stiletto Award winners –including category winners – going on to have novels published: Cate Kennedy, Tara Moss, Angela Savage, 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 and Amanda Wrangles.

“The great variety of awards on offer should appeal to all sorts of different literary sensibilities, from the cosy and romantically inclined to the hard-boiled and speculative,” Lobb said.

Last year, the Awards attracted 207 entries. They were presented by Marta Dusseldorp, star of ABC1’s Janet King.

Five authors have won the Scarlet Stiletto Award twice and subsequently been invited to become judges: Cate Kennedy, Christina Lee, Roxxy Bent, Janis Spehr and Josephine Pennicott. Only Cate Kennedy, however, has a matching pair of stilettos.

Three collections of winning stories have been published by Clan Destine Press: Scarlet Stiletto: The First Cut, Scarlet Stiletto: The Second Cut and Scarlet Stiletto Short Stories: 2013(ebook).

Closing date for the awards is 31 August 2015. Entry fee is $15 (Sisters in Crime) or $20 (others). Maximum length is 5000 words.  Click here for entry forms and FAQs.

The 22nd Scarlet Stiletto Awards are tentatively scheduled for 6.30pm Saturday 28 November at theThornbury Theatre in Melbourne.

Media comment: Michaela Lobb, National Co-convenor, Sisters in Crime Australia:  0409 431 397.