EEK. IT WAS HER. SHEKILDA!
I’ve been a fanatical reader of crime books since an early age.
Like a lot of crime readers, I started with the Famous Five, and then progressed through Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. I vividly recall being dumbfounded after receiving Noel Streatfeild’s classic Ballet shoes for Anna for my 12th birthday. Who’d want to read about ballet? (I hasten to add that I did read it and loved it).
Unlike the lucky young readers of today, there weren’t too many crime books for teenagers back then and I jumped into adult crime fiction via Agatha Christie (above in 1946) before veering off to all parts dark and gritty.
My love of crime started as a love of mysteries; and a desire to nut out a puzzle.
As I got older, I recognized that the most effective crime books hold a mirror up to ourselves and our behaviour. I read as much general fiction as I do crime and I can’t stand the snobby sentiment that says crime books – or any genre books for that matter – are second rate literature. Peter Temple’s win at last year’s Miles Franklin Awards for Truth proves that.
These days I am a convenor with Sisters in Crime Australia, a volunteer organisation that promotes and advocates on behalf of women crime writers.
It’s a fun group of women to be involved with. We plot and plan events at the start of every year and organise functions with visiting overseas women writers (our most recent event was part of the Melbourne Writers Festival when we interviewed the fabulous Tess Gerritsen) and our amazing local writers.
I think we’ve promoted every Australian female crime writer who’s ever been published in the past 10 years.
I’ve been lucky enough to run events with a few of my favourites including Leigh Redhead, Katherine Howell and PD Martin.
We also run trivia nights, debates, an annual short story competition called the Scarlet Stiletto and the annual Davitt Awards for best published crime, true crime and young adult crime books by Australian women.
This year, however, we are outdoing ourselves.
2011 is both the 20th anniversary of Sisters in Crime Australia and the 10th anniversary of the 2001 SheKilda Women’s Crime Convention, which was held at St Kilda Town Hall (hence the title) and was the first convention of this type in the world.
To celebrate, Sisters in Crime is holding the SheKilda 2011 Australian Women Crime Writers’ Convention from October 7 to 9 at Rydges on Swanston (701 Swanston Street), Carlton.
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