2003 Sisters in Crime Australia's Scarlet Stiletto Awards
JACQUI HORWOOD WINS SCARLET STILETTO AWARD FOR BEST CRIME SHORT STORY
A former Victoria Police staffer, Jacqui Horwood, has won the 10th Sisters in Crime Scarlet Stiletto Award. Veteran actor Anne Phelan presented Ms Horwood with the HarperCollins first prize of $750 plus a trophy - a scarlet stiletto shoe with a steel stiletto heel plunging into a mount - for her story, "Slasher's Return" in a gala ceremony in St Kilda. She also won the Chronicles Bookshop award of $150 for the best police procedural for the same story.
Ms Horwood grew up on the mean streets of Frankston, reading the Famous Five and Nancy Drew and "hoping to smash international spy rings". She worked as a project officer for 10 years at Victoria Police where she learned to decipher police jargon and recognise the difference between GBH and GHB.
A hundred and forty-four aspiring women crime writers from all over Australia competed for the award set up in 1994 to unearth female criminal intent of the literary kind.
Anne Phelan, one of Australia¹s most compelling actors of stage and screen, star of "Marshall Law", "Something in the Air", "Prisoner", Mavis Goes to Timor" and many others, was our special guest for the 2003 Scarlet Stiletto Awards. After talking about her work to Sue Turnbull, Anne presented the Scarlet Stiletto Awards to the winning authors. Here she receives her Sisters in Crime t-shirt.
Kerry Mummery (Melbourne, VIC) won the Kill City Prize of $350 for her story, "Concealer", the first crime story she has ever written. Josephine Pennicott (Sydney, NSW) took out both the Cosmos Books & Music 3rd prize and the Kerry Greenwood Malice Domestic Award for her story, "Hail Mary". Ms Pennicott, who had had three Dark Fantasy books, Circle of Nine, Bride of the Stone and A Fire in the Shell published by Simon and Schuster, has been shortlisted four years running has previously won first and second prizes.
Margaret Pollock (Melbourne VIC) won the Dorothy Porter Award of $250 for the best crime story in verse for "Froth and Bubble", an hilarious vision of The Bill's characters taking their revenge on the scriptwriters for turning their show into a soapie. Poet Cate Kennedy, who won the first and second Scarlet Stiletto Awards I n1994 and 1995, read out the poem to a packed audience at Leo's Spaghetti Bar.
Seventeen year-old Lithgow student, Erika Wagner, was awarded the Allen & Unwin Young Writers' Award of $250 for her story "Conscience Never Sleeps". Sandra Lindemann, a Sisters in Crime member from Adelaide, SA won the Pulp Fiction $150 book voucher for her story, "Shirley Baxter Has Her Day"
Last year's winner, Roxxy
Bent (SA) won a special commendation. Special commendations also
went to Maisie Coleman (Sydney, NSW), Robin Gregory (Melbourne, Vic), Sylvia Loader (Melbourne Vic), Liz Filleul (Melbourne, Vic), Barbara Yates Rothwell (WA), and Andrea Mayes (Melbourne, Vic).
For the first time, 'special commendations with a bullet', were
presented. The winners were Karen Allingham
(Vic) and last year's third prize winner, Liz
Ms Shute said that the idea for the awards was hatched in 1994 over a boozy meeting of Sisters in Crime convenors. at Helen Halliday's old house in Park Street, about 200 metres from here.
"Since then, over 1300 stories have been entered into the awards. Amazingly, 3 authors have won the Stiletto twice and have subsequently become judges, under the rules: Cate Kennedy who won the first two awards and since then Christina Lee and Janis Spehr have also won twice. Cate Kennedy then went on to win the Age Short Story Competition two years in a row in 2000 and 2001 and has won almost every short story competition in the land but no Australian publisher has so far agreed to publish a collection of her short stories,
"Winners of other categories - including Patricia Bernard, Tara Moss and Bronwen Blake - have since had novels published. This week, Dymocks in Brisbane is launching the first novel by Cheryl Jorgensen, a long-time member in Queensland and a previously shortlisted author. Her thriller, A Quality of Life, won the 4BC/Dymocks Writers' Award, and is about a serial killer on the mean streets of Brisbane," she said.
Ms Shute said that over the past decade, the stories have often reflected broader trends. "In the Kennett years, there were lots of stories about the attacks on the public sector. They presented new twists to the old body in the library theme - death by compulsory competitive tendering....
"And maybe we're all getting that much older because this year several writers explored the thin line between mercy killings and murder. But the most enduring theme has been revenge murders where women murder men, often their husbands, for no particular reason, and get away with it. If men read some of the stories, they'd be very surprised to learn what women - or some women - think of them. We know what Freud would say...," she said.
Sisters in Crime, Australia's leading feminist crime fiction organisation, has over 500 members nation-wide and chapters in all states and territories except for NT. It celebrated its 10th anniversary in October 2001 with the SheKilda Women's Crime Convention held at St Kilda Town Hall and attended by 300 crime buffs.
The Scarlet Stiletto Awards are kindly sponsored by HarperCollins, Kill City Bookshop, Cosmos Books and Music, Chronicles Bookshop, Allen & Unwin, Pulp Fiction (Brisbane), Kerry Greenwood, Dorothy Porter, and Spinifex Press.
The 10th Scarlet Stiletto Awards close on 30 August 2004, a month earlier than usual . The entry fee is $5. Entry forms will be available next year by writing to Sisters in Crime, GPO Box 5319 BB, Melbourne 3001 or on its website.