Category Archives: Kerry Greenwood

SheKilda and women’s crime writing in Australia

It’s when someone asks you to contribute a blog post on the state of female crime writing in Australia from the point of someone watching the industry, that you realise you just don’t read enough.

Not nearly enough.

That said, in my view, female crime writing in this country looks in rude health.

Exhibit A is SheKilda this weekend, the women’s crime writing conference I’ve been asked to write this blog post to coincide with. There’ll be 60 speakers spanning fiction, true crime, young adult, ‘crimance’ and screenwriting. With the exception of the Crime and Justice Festival, there’s nothing else like it.

The 53 books by local female writers entered in the current Davitt awards for female crime writing, is Exhibit B.

It’s when you make statements like these that you come up against claims female crime writers are discriminated in reviewing and awards. Certainly, studies overseas have shown that female writers are vastly underrepresented in the review sections of newspapers. I presume the same is true here.

Awards? Let’s look at the top categories for the last ten years of the Ned Kelly Awards, 2002 – 2011.

The results are fairly split in the category of true crime. Five women have won it (it was tied between two women in 2007) and five men (with the result being tied between two men in 2002).… Read more

Not another post about the crisis of the publishing industry

This is not going to be another post about the crisis in the publishing industry.

Well, not quite.

The Emerging Writers’ Festival has been running over the last week in Melbourne.

The events I attended, including the crime genre panel at the Wheeler Centre last Thursday night (more about that later), were great. Good speakers, interesting discussion, a refreshing absence of hipsterdom.

I’ll certainly be marking the week off in my diary next year and trying to attend more events.

Not surprisingly, a central theme of the proceedings was the future of publishing. Much of the discussion focused on whether it was in crisis or not.

Before going any further, it’s important to set the record straight. I love books. I mean the paper kind you can smell and touch and thumb through. I’m not going to be coy about it, I really hope the manuscript of my crime novel set in Cambodia gets to become a book made out of a dead tree.

Hopefully you’ll be able to buy it from a neighbourhood bookstore owned by someone you’re on first name terms with. Shit, I even hope I make some money off it.

I also love newspapers, party politics, Hawaiian shirts and a whole lot of other things that have an uncertain future.… Read more

Crime time at the Emerging Writers’ Festival

Melbourne’s Emerging Writers’ Festival gets underway later this week. The agenda features a mind-boggling array of writers, editors, publishers and other literary types.

This year, the Festival includes a series of panels on genre writing. Young adult, speculative fiction, romance and crime are all going to get a going over.

And guess who’s got a slot on the crime fiction panel on Thursday, June 2?

Yes, I’m going to be one of the three panel members. I’m the emerging writer (go team!).

Also on the panel is Jarad Henry, policy advisor to the Victorian police by day and author of two books, the most recent of which is the 2008 novel Blood Sunset.

The third person is veteran crime writer, Kerry Greenwood. Greenwood is the author of approximately fifty books, including the well-known series featuring the female sleuth, Phryne Fisher.

I’m sure it will be a great discussion so come along.

This is going to be my first literary panel and I have to admit I’m a little nervous, especially given the experience of my co-panelists. Carmel has asked me to send her my thoughts about being an emerging author. Hmm, I’m going to have to think about that. Any aspiring or emerging writers reading this post who’ve got ideas about what I should say, are encouraged to drop me a line.… Read more

The dying trade? Private investigators in Australian crime fiction

In the 1940s and 50s, some of the biggest names in Australian fiction were authors unknown today. People such as Gordon Clive Bleeck, Carter Brown, Don Haring and KT McCall were the leading lights of a huge local pulp fiction industry. It produced countless cheap westerns, science fiction and above all crime novels, printed cheaply with lurid covers and sold at news-stands on the street and in train stations. This piece was originally commissioned by the Wheeler Center and appeared on their website here.

In 1938, the federal government decided to levy foreign print publications. As a result of this decision, local publishing houses sprang up to fill the void, releasing hundreds of novels a month, including Westerns, racing and boxing stories, science fiction and crime. Hard-boiled and not so hard-boiled PIs became a standard feature of the pulp crime scene that flourished in Australia for two decades thereafter.

The authors are unknown today, despite some selling in the millions in Australia and abroad. Gordon Clive Bleeck wrote over 200 novels, including PI stories, while working full time for NSW Railroads. Carter Brown, the alias of UK immigrant Alan G Yates, is associated with nearly 300 titles.

Starting off as a hugely popular radio program on the Macquarie Network, the PI Larry Kent inspired a series of novels by Don Haring, an American who lived in Australia or a time, and Queenslander Des R Dunn.… Read more