The Australian Crime Writers Association periodically recognises writers, publishers, reviewers, bloggers or fans who have made an outstanding contribution to the genre in Australia.
This is our Hall of Fame.
1995 - JON CLEARY
Best known as the elder statesman of Australian crime writing for his Scobie Malone mysteries, Jon Cleary was the author of 29 novels, including the bestselling classic The Sundowners, which has sold over three million copies worldwide. This epic story of an outback Australian family, the Carmodys, was turned into a film in 1960 starring Deborah Kerr, Robert Mitchum and Peter Ustinov with a supporting cast including Chips Rafferty. Cleary’s most famous creation, however, was without doubt Scobie Malone, a Sydney homicide detective who first appeared in 1966’s The High Commissioner and went on to feature in 19 more novels over the next 28 years. Jon Cleary published his last novel, Morning's Gone in 2006, aged 88, and died on 19 July 2010, aged 92.
1997 – ALAN YATES (aka CARTER BROWN)
Alan Geoffrey Yates (aka Carter Brown) was a literary phenomenon. He wrote westerns under the pseudonym Todd Conway, romances as Caroline Farr and science fiction as Paul Valdez. He even found the time to write books under various versions of his own name as well as those of Dennis Sinclair and Sinclair MacKellar. But it was Peter Carter Brown, then later Carter Brown ('Peter' was dropped for the US market), who was to become the international bestselling pulp fiction author. The incredible early success of Carter Brown in the late fifties meant that Yates was contracted to produce one short novel and two long novels each month. Yates remained highly prolific with 322 Carter Brown novels published in Australia, overseas and in translation, with a reportedly 120 million CB books in print – second only to The Bible in the number of languages they were available.
1999 – PETER CORRIS
An academic and journalist, Peter Corris published his first novel in 1980, and has been a full-time writer since 1982. Known as the Godfather of contemporary Australian crime fiction (he writes under this moniker for the Newtown Review of Books), Corris has published nearly 70 fiction and non-fiction titles since then, although he is best known for his Cliff Hardy series. On his website, Corris describes Hardy, one of the best loved and certainly the most enduring of Australian crime fiction characters as an 'ex-army, law student dropout, insurance company investigator turned private eye ... He embraces the best aspects of Australian life – the tolerance, the classlessness, the vigorous urban and rural culture – while despising the greed and the conservatism that are constantly threatening to undercut what he sees as "real Australia"'. The third Cliff Hardy title, The Empty Beach, was in 1985 made into a classic of Australian noir starring Bryan Brown. Peter Corris’s website can be found at http://www.petercorris.net.
2001 – STEPHEN KNIGHT
Stephen Knight is an academic who has lectured in both Australia and the United Kingdom. Now retired, he is currently Honorary Research Professor of English Literature at the University of Melbourne. He has published a large number of books that have explored his areas of academic interest in English literature, medieval literature and crime fiction. In 1997 he published Continent of Mystery: A Thematic History of Australian Crime Fiction, and his most recent book is The Mysteries of the Cities: Urban Crime Fiction in the Nineteenth Century (2012). One reviewer describes the former book as suggesting that 'No other country's writers are so likely to sympathise with the criminals, or find the police a thoroughly threatening presence. Stephen Knight's unique and sophisticated study shows that this fiction explores criminal disorder in distinctly national terms. The goldfields mystery, the Aboriginal detective, the glamorous lesbian cop and the post-modern puzzle all reveal distinctive aspects of Australianness.'
2002 – PATRICK GALLAGHER, Managing Director, Allen & Unwin
When Patrick Gallagher arrived in Australia in 1976 to start a list of academic books for Allen & Unwin he little thought his company would come to be the publishers of Peter Corris, Marele Day, Barry Maitland, Kerry Greenwood and a host of household names in Australian crime writing. His first venture into crime fiction was publishing Peter Corris's The Empty Beach featuring PI Cliff Hardy, who after some forty novels still plies his trade in the mean streets today. Crime fiction remains a favourite genre for Patrick as both reader and publisher, and he is particularly proud to be publishing If I Tell You … I'll Have to Kill You, a notable anthology of Australia's leading crime writers on how they work, with royalties going to the Ned Kelly Awards.
2003 – KERRY GREENWOOD
Kerry Greenwood is the author of the bestselling Phryne Fisher series set in 1920s Melbourne society and featuring the eponymous elegant and irrepressible sleuth. The first Phryne title, Cocaine Blues, was published in 1989, and to date she has featured in nineteen novels, the most recent being Unnatural Habits (2012). The series has also been adapted for the small screen as Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, which screened on ABC1 in 2012. Her website can be found at http://www.phrynefisher.com. Kerry Greenwood is an award-winning writer who has also penned six novels in the Corinna Chapman series, the most recent being Cooking the Books 2011, as well as written novels across other genres.
2004 – BOB BOTTOM
Bob Bottom OAM is a hugely influential investigative journalist who has published numerous books about organised crime in Australia, most recently Fighting Organised Crime, Triumph and Betrayal in a Lifelong Campaign (2009). Subsequent to his 1978 report into organised crime in NSW, and his consultations with then Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, Bottom has also participated in the establishment of the Australian Crime Commission and two commissions into crime and corruption in NSW and Queensland. Bottom’s various investigations and testimonies at Royal Commissions have at times caused him and his family to be afforded 24-hour police protection, although for his work in detailing organised crime in Australia he was awarded an Order of Australia Medal. Bottom is the sole author of nine titles, starting with Behind the Barrier in 1969 and co-editor and co-author of three, including the Big Shots series. Now retired, he still writes occasional pieces for the national media, including his recent argument for a national ICAC to examine federal parliamentary malfeasance, something first tabled some thirty years ago but never implemented.
2005 – STUART COUPE
The multi-talented Stuart Coupe is a writer and journalist who for a time managed musical acts such as Paul Kelly and the Hoodoo Gurus. The publisher in the nineties of hard-boiled magazine Mean Streets 1990–1995), now record label director and radio DJ, according to Stuart's website he 'loves the Sydney Swans, Melbourne Bitter, crime fiction, ten gazillion records, books, magazines and CDs, and his weekly hour of cover versions on FBI radio.' While his most recent book is The Promoters: Inside Stories of the Australian Rock Industry (2003), Stuart was also the editor of Hardboiled: Tough, Explicit and Uncompromising Crime Fiction (1993), Crosstown Traffic (1993), crime stories designed to blur the genre, and Case Reopened (1994), where real Australian murders or mysteries were investigated by our crime writers who were charged with solving them.
2006 – ANDREW RULE and JOHN SILVESTER
Between them, journalists, social commentators and authors Andrew Rule and John Silvester created a publishing juggernaut as the creative force behind more than thirty true crime titles, including the highly popular fifteen books in the Underbelly series, and Rule’s editorship of the Chopper series. Both the recipients of multiple awards, including a Walkley and a Best True Crime Ned Kelly, many of their most successful books have been published by their own company, Floradale Productions & Sly Inc, and since 2008 many have been adapted for the wildly successful Underbelly television series.
2007 – SANDRA HARVEY and LINDSAY SIMPSON
Journalists and authors Sandra Harvey and Lindsay Simpson published their first co-authored true crime book in 1989, Brothers in Arms, an account of the Milperra bikie battle between the Bandidos and Commancheros that was recently made into a miniseries screened on channel ten as Bikie Wars: Brothers in Arms. The pair then published My Husband My Killer: The Murder of Megan Kalajzich (1992) and The Killer Next Door (1994), the latter was made into a movie staring Colin Friels in 2000. After Harvey’s death in 2008, aged 49, the Ned Kelly Awards instituted a new short fiction award category in her name as a tribute to her 'integrity and sense of fairness' while a journalist, author and producer and researcher for the ABC’s Four Corners program.
2008 – MARELE DAY
Marele Day is the author of four literary novels and four classics of Australian crime fiction, the much loved novels of the Claudia Valentine mystery series: The Life and Crimes of Harry Lavender (1988), The Case of the Chinese Boxes (1990), The Last Tango of Delores Delgado (1993) and The Disappearances of Madelana Grimaldi (1995). In 1996 Day was also the winner of a Ned Kelly award for her How to Write Crime. Subsequent to the publication of her international bestseller The Lambs of God in 1998, her most recent books are Mrs Cook (2003), a novelised biography, and The Sea Bed, published in 2009.
2009 – SHANE MALONEY
Shane Maloney is the creator of the popular Murray Whelan novels: Stiff (1994), The Brush-Off (1996), Nice Try (1998), The Big Ask (2000), Something Fishy (2002) and Sucked In (2007). One reviewer described this series as 'Just the right mix of politics, crime and slime'. His books have appeared in French, German, Finnish, Japanese and American editions. Stiff and The Brush-Off were adapted for the small screen and starred David Wenham and Sam Neil. His website can be found at http://www.shanemaloney.com
2010 – PETER DOYLE
Academic and writer Peter Doyle, who is also a musician, feature writer and visual artist, published the crime trilogy featuring Billy Glasheen starting with Get Rich Quick in 1996, which won the Best First Fiction Ned Kelly, Amaze Your Friends in 1998, which won Best Fiction in the same awards, and The Devil's Jump in 2001. While part-time curator of Sydney's Justice and Police Museum, Doyle curated the exhibitions Crimes of Passion (2002–2003) and City of Shadows: Inner City Crime and Mayhem, 1912- 1948, which resulted in the publication of City of Shadows: Sydney Police Photographs, 1912–1948 in 2005, followed in 2009 by Sydney: Crooks Like Us, photographs of Sydney’s early twentieth-century criminal population, accompanied by what novelist Fiona McGregor calls examples of Doyle’s finest writing.
2012 – GABRIELLE LORD
Described in the Good Reading magazine as the First Lady of Australian crime, Gabrielle Lord’s bestselling psychological thrillers have been translated into many languages, starting with Fortress in 1980 and stretching to more than 20 fiction and non-fiction titles, not including her 14 instalment Conspiracy 365 series, which has recently been made into a 12-part drama series for the Movie Network. Her novel Death Delights, the first in the Jack McCain series, was the winner of the 2002 Best Fiction Ned Kelly, and the following year Baby Did a Bad Thing, second in the Gemma Lincoln series, won a Davitt Award. Her website can be found at http://www.gabriellelord.com.
2015 - PETER LAWRENCE
Peter Lawrence had been a vital part of the Ned Kelly Awards from it's inception in 1995, single handedly organising the awards in Melbourne since 2000. ACWA were particularly pleased to have the opportunity to acknowledge Peter's work and his vision during the 2015 Awards ceremony - and nothing sums up that effort better than the awards tribute (given by Andrew Nette on the night). Full Speech
2016 - CARMEL SHUTE
Carmel Shute helped found Sisters in Crime Australia in 1991 and has been a national co-convenor ever since. She was inspired by the new wave of feminist crime writers like Sara Paretsky who founded Sisters in Crime in 1986 at the Bouchercon, the premier US crime writing convention. She loves the combination of politics, suspense, good writing and fun that women’s crime writing and Sisters in Crime has brought into her life. Carmel is an historian by trade, has worked as an academic, union organiser at the ABC and a media officer in local government and the trade union movement. She currently runs a public relations business, Shute the Messenger. She has one published crime story to her name, “Feed the Man Meet”, and her long term ambition is to write the definitive crime novel set in local government. Carmel currently holds the position of Secretary in Sisters in Crime Australia. Full Speech
2018 - GARRY DISHER
Garry Disher’s writing career started back in the early 1980s with short stories and a series of historical text books for schools, the first two of these focusing on bushrangers. More short stories and some adult fiction followed before Disher burst onto the crime genre scene in 1991 with Kickback, the first in his Wyatt series.
Much as Peter Corris had brought the hard boiled gumshoe to Australia and made it something uniquely his own, so too Disher with the anti-hero. Wyatt was a master thief, a man who, despite making a living breaking the law, lived by a series of his own rules. Of course, the anti-hero already lived large in the Australian consciousness – Ned Kelly being an obvious example. So in hindsight it might come as no surprise that a writer who had a masters in history and had written textbooks on Australia’s rogues should build an iconic Australian character around a modern version of the idea. Six Wyatt books followed before Disher decided to give the man a well earned break. Full Speech