One of Australia’s most well-known authors, Helen Garner is among a strong list of writers competing for this year’s Ned Kelly Award for Best True Crime. The shortlist, announced by the Australian Crime Writers Association (ACWA) on Saturday August 8 at the Byron Bay Writers Festival includes journalists Debi Marshall, Kate McClymont, Linton Besser, David Murray, Amy Dale and freelance writer Liam Pieper.
Garner’s book, This House of Grief: The Story of a Murder Trial has been nominated for the Neds, now in their 20th year. The horrific death of three young brothers shocked the nation on Father’s Day 2005 and put their father Robert Farquharson in the dock. Garner watched the case unfold.
‘Garner attends Farquharson’s trial hoping to make sense of the senseless crime. She is, in essence, the every-person observer and tries to find humanity within the walls of the cold courtroom. Her observations about human nature, family, love and hate are always profound,’ said Ned Kelly judges.
The Best Crime shortlist features Barry Maitland’s Crucifixion Creek, a murder and mayhem tale in a housing estate in western Sydney and Adrian McKinty’s Gun Street Girl, another Sean Duffy book combining criminality, conspiracy and political scandal. Malla Nunn’s Present Darkness, the fourth book in her Emmanuel Cooper series set in the milieu of 1950s South Africa, Peter Docker’s Sweet One, a sobering encounter between the white and indigenous cultures based loosely on a death in custody, Candice Fox’s Eden, her second novel returning to the lives of two psychologically-damaged cops and Sulari Gentill’s A Murder Mentioned, a classic whodunit with a backdrop of Australia during the 1930s.
The Ned’s Debut Fiction shortlist covers a diverse range of topics including a child kidnapping tale King of the Road by Nigel Barlett, a love story gone wrong in Anna George’s What Came Before, a rollicking tale about scams and scammers Chasing the Ace by Nicholas J Johnson and a law and justice story set in a small Victorian coastal town titled Quota by Jock Serong.
With the largest number of entries ever received, ACWA Chair, Michael Robotham says the Neds prove that crime writing in Australia has never been so healthy.
‘This is not just evident in the record number of submissions, but the diversity and quality of the entries. Established writers can never be complacent, because so much new talent is waiting in the wings.'
The winners of the 2015 Ned Kelly Awards will be announced at the Melbourne Writers Festival on Saturday August 22. Jane Clifton will host a night of entertainment, including the awards, the 'Great Crime Debate' with Leigh Redhead, Matthew Condon, Robert Gott and Vikki Petraitis, live music from the Greens Dairy Angel Ensemble, door prizes and bar open for drink purchases. The event will be at the Bella Union Bar, Trades Hall Victoria; doors open at 6pm.
The Ned Kelly Awards are Australia’s oldest and most prestigious prizes for crime fiction and true crime writing. First established in 1995, the list of previous winners includes Peter Temple, Shane Maloney, Kerry Greenwood and Geoffrey McGeachin.
2014 BEST CRIME NOVEL:
Peter Docker, Sweet One
Candice Fox, Eden
Sulari Gentill, A Murder Unmentioned
Barry Maitland, Crucifixion Creek
Adrian McKinty, Gun Street Girl
Malla Nunn, Present Darkness
2014 BEST FIRST CRIME NOVEL:
Nigel Bartlett, King of the Road
Anna George, What Came Before
Nicholas J Johnson, Chasing the Ace
Jock Serong, Quota
2014 BEST TRUE CRIME:
Amy Dale, The Fall
Helen Garner, This House of Grief: The Story of a Murder Trial
Debi Marshall: The Family Court Murders
Kate McClymont and Linton Besser, He Who Must Be Obeid
David Murray, The Murder of Allison Baden-Clay
Liam Pieper, The Feel-Good Hit of the Year
SD HARVEY SHORT STORY (IN CONJUNCTION WITH KILL YOUR OWN DARLINGS):