Sue Turnbull awarded Life Membership & ‘Ambassadorship’

After presenting her keynote address to SheKilda3 on 19 November, Professor Sue Turnbull was faced with a presentation of her own when Sisters in Crime’s President, Vivienne Colmer, awarded her a Life Membership and then anointed her as Sisters in Crime’s first Ambassador.

Here’s what’s Vivienne had to say:

“Sisters in Crime is very pleased to present you Sue with a Life Membership Award.  his is very select award given to people who have shown significant service to Sisters in Crime as convenors for at least 10 years.

When we looked at how long Sue has been a convenor, she certainly made the grade. She has been a convenor from 1994 to 2016: 22 years. We have given her time off for good behaviour, particularly recognising that since she deserted Melbourne to live in Wollongong, it is hard for her to attend meetings and events here in Melbourne.

Now I won’t say much as we are all keen to get on with our criminal activities, but anyone who has been to Sisters in Crime events over the past 25 years is bound to have encountered Sue. She has been one of our foremost interrogators of writers at our events – be they famous overseas writers with whom Sue has struck up strong friendships, like Val McDermid, or up-and-coming Australian writers publishing their first books.

Whenever we need a veneer of academic respectability through media commentary, Sue is happy to oblige. She even got up at 4 in the morning last week, without complaining (much) to talk to ABC Radio Overnight about TV crime, and many of you would have heard her this week on Radio National with Melina Marchetta.

Sue has set new standards in style for our convenors – I know when I first became a convenor, I was terrified of her, with that clipped English accent, the razor-sharp mind, the incredibly stylish clothes, the profession, the child – she seemed to have it all. And that was before she tattooed her whole back with her a Native American totem from the north-west coast. Talk about style! But I got over my fear when she gave me the licence to enjoy popular culture without being apologetic about it to high-brow friends. I was very happy to discover that TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer were OK to watch because Sue wrote lectures and conference papers about them.

Sue, for your sterling service above and beyond the call of duty, over the past 22 years, on behalf of Sisters in Crime can I present you with your Life Membership Award.

sue-turnbull-lifetime-achievement-lrAnd before I let you go, can I also announce that we decided we couldn’t let you off the hook completely, so we want to recognise your ongoing role with Sisters in Crime by appointing you as our first ever Ambassador. So here, Sue is your Ambassador badge. We hope we can continue to use you (hopefully not always at 4 in the morning) as our ambassador. We know you will serve us incredibly well in this new capacity, as you have done in your 22 years as a convenor.”

Sue reports that her colleagues at the University of Wollongong are now referring to her as ‘your excellency’. All hail Sue!