Sisters in Crime announces the shortlist for its 26th Scarlet Stiletto Awards

Sisters in Crime Australia is proud to announce that 29 stories by 24 authors have been shortlisted for its 26th Scarlet Stiletto Awards for best short stories. This year 185 stories short stories written by Australian women compete for $10,060 in prize money.

Geraldine Hakewill, star of Ms Fisher’s MODern Murder Mysteries and Wanted, will present the awards – 6 for 6.30pm Saturday 23 November at South Melbourne’s Rising Sun Hotel. All authors receive a framed certificate and, if lucky, they also take home one of the 15 prizes on offer. The first-prize winner will also score a spectacular scarlet stiletto trophy.

The shortlisted authors (in alphabetical order) are:

Missy Jane Birch (Werribee, VIC); Sally Bothroyd (Millner, (NT); Faye Broberg (South Yarra, VIC); Blanche Clarke (Preston, VIC); Natalie Conyer (Mosman, NSW); Bridgitte Cummings (Adelaide, SA); Caroline de Costa (Cairns, QLD); Olivia De Lesantis (Thornbury, VIC); Janette Ellis (Marks Point, NSW); Kelly Gardiner (West Heidelberg, VIC); Diane Hester (Port Lincoln, SA); Philomena Horsley (Northcote, VIC); Jacqui Horwood (Seddon, VIC); Jane E Lee (Kensington, NSW); Claire McKenna (Seaford, VIC); Kristin Murdock (Warooka, SA); Lyra Philp (Apollo Bay, VIC); Eugenie Pusenjak (Theodore, ACT); Jamee Sharrett (Lynwood, WA); Jenny Sinclair (North Fitzroy, VIC); Christine Spence (Gungahlin, ACT); Nikki Thompson (Blackheath, NSW); Darcy-Lee Tindale (The Ponds, NSW); and Sandi Wallace (Mt Dandenong, VIC).

Awards are presented in the following categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, youth, ‘body in the library’, most satisfying retribution, mystery with history, malice domestic, cross-genre, romantic suspense, great film idea, best disabled protagonist and, for the first time, best bushranger story.

President, Lindy Cameron, said that Sisters in Crime was delighted that the authors came from every state and territory, bar Tasmania.

“The shortlist includes two previous trophy winners – Philomena Horsley and Jacqui Horwood – and a number of ‘serial offenders’ such as Natalie Conyer and Sandi Wallace. The youngest shortlisted author is twelve, the oldest (as far as we know) is in her seventies. Crime writing is a passion which knows no geographical boundaries, no age limit, and no class, ethnic or occupational barriers,” she said.

“In times past, the most common theme involved middle-aged women who suddenly snapped and killed their husbands for no particularly compelling reasons. The husband left his empty coffee mug on the kitchen bench again instead of the dishwasher, and suddenly she was out in the backyard picking oleander leaves for a poison stew.

“Now, thanks to the Writers Victoria Crime and Punishment Award, the urge for retribution has been channelled into stories which feature a surprising number of women serial killers. Ghost stories were also popular this year with a number of stories narrated from beyond the grave.”

Since the awards began 26 years ago, 3656 stories have been entered and 26 winners – including winners of the shoe and category winners – have gone on to have their books published: Cate Kennedy, Tara Moss, Annie Hauxwell, Angela Savage, Josephine Pennicott, Ellie Marney, Aoife Clifford 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, Amanda Wrangles, Lois Murphy, Janis Spehr, T J Hamilton, Dawn Farnham and Anna Snoekstra.

Natalie Conyer will soon join their ranks when her debut novel, Present Tense, comes out shortly with Clan Destine Press.

Before presenting the Scarlet Stiletto awards, Geraldine Hakewill will talk about her life in crime with showbusiness all-rounder (and crime writer) Jane Clifton.

Sisters in Crime and Brothers in Law are invited to come in ’60s outfits and participate in the Phrock Up for Peregrine Competition, to be judged by the series costume designer Maria Pattison. Prizes to be announced.

 Tickets: $60 (no concession) event and three-course dinner. Drinks available at bar prices. Men or ‘Brothers in Law’ welcome.

Prizes kindly sponsored by Swinburne University of Technology; Simon & Schuster; Athenaeum Library; International Association of Forensic Linguistics; Every Cloud Productions; Writers Victoria; Sun Bookshop; Wild Dingo Press; Elephant Tree Publishing Pty Ltd; HQ Fiction; Clan Destine Press; Terror Australis Readers & Writers Festival; Scriptworks; Kerry Greenwood; and Brisbane Chapter of Sisters in Crime.

Bookings for the Awards night are essential and close at 2pm Wednesday 20 November. Book individually or in groups of any size:

More info:

Media comment: Lindy Cameron 0423 422 317;