About Sisters in Crime
Scarlet Stiletto Award
History of Australian
Women's Crime Fiction
2004 Sisters in
Crime Australia's Scarlet Stiletto Awards
ANNOUNCING THE RESULTS OF SISTERS IN CRIME'S 11th SCARLET STILETTO AWARDS
A short story with no murder has won Sisters in Crime's 11th Scarlet Stiletto Award. Melbourne author, Liz Filleul,
took out 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, Brought to Book
(pdf) about women fans of schoolgirl stories. The competition attracted over 120 entries.
Prisoner star, Val Lehman,
presented at the awards at Leo's in St Kilda, after regaling the
audience with stories of her long and colourful career on stage and
It was the third time Ms Filleul, a free-lance
editor from Mount Dandenong who emigrated from the UK nine years ago,
has been shortlisted for the awards. She is thrilled by her win.
"There's nothing like the Scarlet Stiletto Awards in the UK ," she
said. "It gives you an idea of whether or not your writing is reaching
an audience. You can show your friends but that's not always reliable.
I decided to write a story without a murder because, with so many
terrible things happening in the world, I now find it hard to relax in
bed at night reading about a serial killer."
Ms Filleul, a former convenor of Sisters in Crime, first started
writing fiction in the 1980s, when she sold a number of stories to the
British teenage girls' magazine, Patches. More recently she had a
children's picture book, Tumbler, published in 2001. However, she wrote
very little fiction in the twenty years that separated Patches and
Tumbler, concentrating first on her journalistic career and later on
settling into her new life in Australia .
Ms Filleul was disappointed she was unable to receive her award in
person from Val Lehman. She says both she and her mother were long-term
fans of Cell Block H as Prisoner is known in the UK . "I think my mum
was more impressed by that the fact that Val Lehman rang me from the
awards ceremony than by the award itself."
Sydney writer and multi-award winner, Jo McGahey (Lindfield, NSW), won the Kill City second prize of $350 for her story,
About Oona O'Fallon and Me
.Her two young adult novels, The Inheritance and Return to Warrah were
published by Lothian in 2004. Another book, Double Jeopardy, will be
released in the new year.
Rosy Kos, a former Melburnian now living in Queensland , took out the Cosmos Books & Music 3rd prize of $250 for her story, Perfect Timing, her first foray into writing short story crime fiction.
Josephine Pennicott (Broadway, Sydney, NSW) won the $350 Kerry Greenwood Malice Domestic Award for her story,
Tadpole for the second time. She is the author of three Dark Fantasy books, Circle of Nine, Bride of the Stone and A Fire in the Shell
published by Simon and Schuster. She has been shortlisted five years
running and has previously also won first and third prizes.
Tasmanian writer, Joy Elizabeth (Newnhan, Tas), won the Dorothy Porter Award of $250 for the best crime story in verse; for her poem,
Mystery of the Missing Paycheck. Her poetry and short stories appear in several small journals and anthologies, and Australian Reporter and Westerly.
The poem is an abridged version of her full-length prose novel of the
same name. After years of trying to tighten up the original, Joy has
finally given up on prose and is re-writing the entire novel in verse.
Emily Durham, a 15-year-old Koonung Secondary College student from Box
Hill, Melbourne , was awarded the Allen & Unwin Young Writers'
Award of $250 for her story, Twisted Visions,
her first "serious" attempt at writing. Emily's mother, Krista, is a
Sisters in Crime member and accepted the award on her behalf as she was
away on a cycling trip.
Christine Blackford (Cairns, Queensland ) won the Pulp Fiction $150 book voucher for her story, for her story, Who Killed Ben Squires, an excerpt from a projected humourous series depicting the bungled adventures of her menopausal muse, Shazza Wilks.
Sydney psychologist, Ann Penhallurick (Lilyfield, NSW) won the Chronicles Bookshop Award of $150 for the Best Police Procedural: for her story, After Azaria.
She has variously been a mother, 'communication expert', a baker's van
driver, women's refuge worker and hopes to become very good and
moderately famous for writing quite soon.
Special commendations went to Ronda Bird (Balwyn, Melbourne, Vic), Cyan Clyve (North Ryde, Sydney, NSW), Louise Bassett (East Brunswick, Vic Melbourne Vic),
Liz Cameron (Bittern, Vic),
Cheryl Rogers (West Swan, Perth , WA ).
Sisters in Crime spokesperson, Vivienne Colmer, said that the Scarlet
Stiletto Award was easily Australia 's most lucrative crime-writing
award for either gender. "The Scarlet Stiletto Award prizes amounted to
$2500, thanks to the fantastic support from Australian publishers and
bookshops. It is a sign that crime fiction delivers to readers in ways
that contemporary literary fiction does not," she said.
According to Ms Colmer, the stories submitted drew on varied themes and
settings, from cyberspace crime to domestic murders, from the tourist
parks of remote north-west Australia to the mean streets of Sydney .
"There was welcome reduction in the number of entries about women
murdering their husbands for very little apparent reason, and getting
away with it, but still too many stories with very little plot or pace.
However, the judges are very satisfied with the quality of the
finalists," she said.
Prize-winners in the Scarlet Stiletto Awards have gone from strength to
strength. Cate Kennedy, who won the first and second awards, 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.
In October last year, Angela Savage, won the Victorian Premier's
Literary Award for her unpublished manuscript, Thai Died, based on the
3rd prize entry in the 1998 Stiletto Awards. Other category winners and
finalists - including Patricia Bernard, Tara Moss, Bronwen Blake,
Cheryl Jorgensen, and Jo McGahey - have since had novels
Sisters in Crime , Australia 's leading feminist crime fiction organisation, has over 500 members nation-wide.
The Scarlet Stiletto Awards are kindly sponsored by Harper Collins,
Kill City Bookshop (Melbourne), Cosmos Books and Music (Melbourne),
Chronicles Bookshop (Melbourne), Allen & Unwin, Pulp Fiction
(Brisbane), Kerry Greenwood, Dorothy Porter, and Spinifex Press.
The 12th Scarlet Stiletto Awards close on August 31, 2005. The entry
fee is $10. Entry forms will be available next year by writing to
Sisters in Crime, GPO Box 5319, Melbourne 3001 or on its website:
Print quality photos can be emailed on request.
Further Info: Contact Vivienne Colmer, National Co-Convenor, on 0418 505 827
Sisters in Crime