Tag Archives: Peter Corris

A sit down with the Godfather: an interview with Peter Corris

As promised in my recent piece to mark the passing of Australian crime writer, Peter Corris, it gives me great pleasure to post a terrific, in-depth interview with the author that appeared in issue 14 of  the now defunct online journal, Crime Factory, in September 2013.The interview was conducted by avid crime reader and regular Crime Factory contributor, Andrew Prentice.

Crime Factory: Your pre-writing career was academia and journalism, wasn’t it?

Peter Corris: Yes

Where did the shift take place into writing novels?

I was working at the National Times when the first of the Hardy books came out, in 1980. I was the literary editor, sending the books out, doing the reviews, and also doing some interviewing pieces, sports people, politicians…and the first book was a success, very well reviewed.

That was The Dying Trade?

That’s the one. And I’d already finished the second one because I enjoyed doing the first one so much, and had started a third one, and well, the ball just got rolling, even though it took about 5 years for the first one to get published. I gave up the journalism and was bringing in enough from the books and writing short stories to get going. I should add I had a working wife as well, which was helpful.… Read more

A few thoughts on the passing of Peter Corris, the father of modern Australian crime fiction

I suspect a lot of fans of contemporary Oz crime fiction, and more than a few of its current practitioners, may have forgotten or perhaps don’t even know the debt we all owe to Sydney based crime writer Peter Corris, who died last night at the age of 76.

I have written a bit about Corris on this site and others. And given Pulp Curry originally started off wholly dedicated to crime fiction, I wanted to make a few observations about an author who has given me a lot of pleasure, as well as being incredibly influential on Australian crime fiction.

Corris’ debut novel, The Dying Trade, was published in 1980 (something must have been in the water that year because it also saw the publication of Grabrielle Lord’s important first novel, Fortress). The Dying Trade introduced the hardscrabble Sydney private investigator, Cliff Hardy.

Hardy is an ex-insurance claims investigator and army veteran, who served during the so-called “Malaya Emergency” in the 1950s when Australian troops were brought in to help the British control that country’s growing communist insurgency. In many respects, Hardy was typical of the breed of PI characters that were popular in the US, stretching right back to the work of Raymond Chandler. He liked a drink.… Read more

A new anthology of short Oz crime fiction & a course for aspiring crime authors

Just wanted to pull on your collective coats with some writing related news. 2016 is going to be a big year for me, writing wise, with a non-fiction book, a novel and stories in a two anthologies all out in the next 12 months.

My first writing scalp for 2016 is the book above, an upcoming anthology of Australian short crime fiction, soon to be published by Sydney based Spineless Wonders. I’m thrilled to have a story in this collection, ‘Postcard From, Cambodia’. I even get my name on the cover along with heavy hitters such as David Whish-Wilson, Leigh Redhead, Carmel Bird, Peter Corris, PM Newton and my partner, Angela savage. It is edited by Zane Lovett, whose debut crime novel, The Midnight Promise won best first crime at the 2014 Ned kelly awards.

Seriously, anthologies of Australian crime fiction are a rare thing, which makes this anthology something of a special event. The book is currently available for pre-order at a reduced price, so get onto it. Ordering information and other details are available here.

My second piece of news is about a course for new and emerging crime writers I’m giving for Writers Victoria on Sunday February 28 and March 6. Over the two days we’ll cover topics such the key conventions of crime fiction, the basics of plotting and structure, how to pace and build suspense, the importance of setting, strategies for completing your manuscript and pitching your book to publishers.… Read more

Empty beaches: In search of Australia’s fictional private eyes

Empty BeachSeptember 12 marked the 30th anniversary of the release of a little-known Australian crime movie, The Empty Beach. The film fared poorly upon release and is still unavailable on DVD — you’d have to track down a rare second-hand VHS edition to view it.

Nonetheless, the film is something of an obsession of mine and I have been wanting to write about it in detail for a while now. This is partly because I am a huge Bryan Brown as well as always being fascinated with movies that I thinks are good but which have, for whatever reason, sunk into obscurity.

Also The Empty Beach and its source material, the third book in what has become a long-running series by Sydney writer Peter Corris, feature something largely absent from Australian crime fiction and film: the bone fide, card-carrying, full-time private investigator for hire.

I finally got around to writing a piece on the film and its source book for the Los Angeles Review of Books. You can read the essay, ‘Empty Beaches: In Search of Australia’s Fictional Private Eyes’ in full here.

Cross examinations: a review of Louis Nowra’s Kings Cross A Biography

KCIn the late eighties I visited Sydney with my girlfriend at the time. We stayed in a fleabag hotel in the middle of Kings Cross, walked around the neon-lit streets at night and bought a bag of marijuana off an emaciated dealer in an alley next to a strip joint. It turned out to be mostly dried parsley.

Not much of a connection with Australia’s capital of sleaze and sin, I know. But what my real life interactions lacked, imagination made up for, fuelled by Kings Cross’s place in Australian popular culture.

One of my favourite fictional private investigators, Cliff Hardy, the creation of Sydney author Peter Corris, has done his fair share of time knocking around the Cross. The terrific 1995 television mini-series Blue Murder and the not-so-wonderful Underbelly: Razor and Underbelly: The Golden Mile also did their bit to maintain its unsavoury reputation.

You can read the rest of this piece on the Overland website here.