Sisters in Crime
2011 Scarlet Stiletto Awards
Article by: Amanda Wrangles
Friday November 25th was a big one. It was Stiletto time again.
Stiletto time, I hear you ask? Well, yes. Each year, Sisters in Crime Australia hold their short crime story competition. Those of us who enter year after year send off our criminal imaginings months prior to the event, and then try to forget about it while the judging process takes place. Usually by the end of October, those who’ve made the shortlist are notified – generally this is around 15 to 18 stories out of about 130 or so (of course it varies each year…) And then, on the last Friday in November, the big award night takes place. It’s a nail-biting evening full of good food, drinks and the most interesting company. I mean, where else would it be perfectly acceptable to talk murder and mayhem all night with a bunch of like-minded women?
Most years, during dinner and before the actual awards, the audience gets to hear from a special guest – say, an actress from a televised crime show. This year, however, four previous shoe winners were grilled on the art of writing short crime stories by long-time Sisters in Crime National co-convenor, Lindy Cameron. The line-up included Liz Filleul (2004 winner), Evelyn Tsitis (2008), Amanda Wrangles (um, yeah, that would be me for 2009) and Eleanor Marney (2010). Hopefully we kept the crowd entertained with tales of scribbling out words in between wrangling children.
Then it was on to the actual awards, presented by crime novelist PD (Phillipa) Martin. Special Commendations went to: Suzanne Gaskell, Amanda Carmen-Cromer, Robin Story, Marian Cox, Kerry James and Amanda Wrangles.
The Allen & Unwin Young Writers Award: co-winners were Mary Evans and Sarah Robinson-Hatch.
Judges Award (donated by Christine Leppert): Kim Westwood.
Scriptworks Great Film Idea Award: Fiona Drury.
Pulp Fiction Award for Funniest Crime Story: Sarah Evans.
Cate Kennedy Award for Best New Talent: Marguerite Johnson.
Olvar Wood Late Starters Award & also Benn’s Books Best Investigative Award: Anne Cost.
Kerry Greenwood Malice Domestic Award: Vicky Daddo.
Third Prize: Carmela Salomon.
Clandestine Press Award for Cross Genre and Second Prize: Liz Filleul.
and finally, First Prize – Scarlet Stiletto trophy went to the fabulous Angela Savage for her story, ‘The Teardrop Tattoos’.
This was the first time in the award’s 18 year history that it was won by a crime writer with one or more crime novels already to her credit. Angela’s novels include ‘Behind the Night Bazaar’ and ‘The Half Child’, both of which feature PI Jayne Keeney, who made her first appearance in Angela’s 1998 3rd prize winning Scarlet Stiletto story. Angela is a wonderful supporter of SinC, so we were all thrilled to see her take home the shoe. Over the years, a number of winners and category winners have gone on to publish novels. These include: Cate Kennedy, Angela Savage, Josephine Pennicott, Sara Evans, Inga Simpson, Alex Palmer, Liz Filleul, Margaret Bevege, Patricia Bernard, Bronwen Blake, Jo McGahey,Cheryl Jorgensen, Kylie Fox, Amanda Wrangles and Tara Moss. 2011 was also the first year the Judges Award was presented, and was taken home by Kim Westwood, author of novels ‘The Daughters of Moab’ and recently, ‘The Courier’s New Bicycle’ (you can read my review here).
As always, the 18th Scarlet Stiletto Awards was a brilliant night. It was great to see lots of new faces among the ‘usual suspects’ – those whose names turn up year after year in the awards. I’m looking forward to next year’s competition where, as a new National Co-convenor and judge, I get to be on the other side of the judging process and READ all those criminally great stories!
PS – There are two ‘best of’ collections available from the eighteen years of Stiletto stories: ‘The First Cut’ and (surprisingly…) ‘The Second Cut’. Both are available through Clan Destine Press.
*Many thanks to Grant Filleul and Carmel Shute for allowing us to use their pictures.