Sunday, July 4, 2010

The cat peeking from the bag...

Each month, crime fiction readers and afficianados around the world enjoy British crime writer and renowned crime commentator Mike Ripley's "Getting Away with Murder" column for Shots Ezine.

Those of you that have already perused the July edition may have noticed an interesting entry entitled "Kiwi Krime?" partway down the third column. As Ripley says, he's been reading a fair bit of New Zealand-written crime and thriller fiction lately - not just for fun, but because he is the UK representative on an international judging panel which will, in September, make the first ever Kiwi Crime Novel Award.

That's right. The first ever 'Kiwi' crime novel award. Cool, eh?

Canada has the Arthur Ellis Awards. Australia the Ned Kellys. The United Kingdom the CWA Daggers. Ireland recently added the the Ireland AM Crime Fiction Award to the Irish Book Awards. Sweden has the Bästa svenska kriminalroman, and Scandinavia as a whole the Glass Key Award. The United States of course had the Edgars, and there are many other prestigious awards recognising great crime and thriller writing, given by various countries, publications, and organisations. But until now, New Zealand has never had an award to celebrate its own locally-written crime and thriller fiction.

Down this way we have a Romance Writers Association and a Sci-Fi/Fantasy Association who each do great things to support local writers in their 'genres', and give awards, as well as general/literary fiction-focused awards - but there is something of a gaping hole when it comes to celebrating those who write crime and thriller novels.

As many of you know, I've become something of a vociferous supporter of crime fiction, particularly New Zealand crime fiction - which as I've said has historically been fairly overlooked within the literary world in this country. So it probably won't surprise you to read that I've been part of a small group working on establishing both a New Zealand Crime and Thriller Writing Association, and the inaugural crime fiction award. There are many reasons for this, but for now, suffice to say that I fully believe the time is right for New Zealand to have its own organisation (and award) to help encourage, support, and celebrate good crime writing.

I will be sharing a lot more details in the coming days, weeks, and months, as various things are finalised. We've been beavering away in the background until now, but now the cat is peeking from the bag (eager to leap out and show it's a tiger?), so I'd love to hear your intial thoughts on and reaction to this 'news'. What do you think? Thoughts, questions, and comments appreciated.


  1. Craig,

    Go for it. It's a great morale booster for writers, I should think, just to have an award available for the Best story of the year. I suspect it must be depressing to read about the various awards given out around the world and not even have a chance to win because NZ doesn't have one. At best, an NZ could win an award for best foreign writer, but I should think winning an award given by an NZ group might mean more.

    I used to be active in the USA SF community several decades ago, and I attended SF conventions regularly, usually at which one of the major awards was given out. It's a great opportunity to meet other fans and especially a chance to meet writers.

    I should think that winning an award at a convention, surrounded by fans and fellow writers,would be more memorable than getting an announcement in the mail.

  2. Thanks for the comment Fred. I agree - the inauguaral award is going to be presented as part of an evening event at the upcoming Christchurch Writers Festival in September. Like you say, better to get people together etc...

  3. Craig - What great news about this award! I think it's a great idea to set up the kind of association you're talking about and an award. There are certainly plenty of deserving writers!

  4. Good news! Looking forward to learning more.. nominees, name of award?, etc.

  5. Well done, Craig. You're drawing us in slowly with these revelations. By the time of the announcements at the festival, you should have plenty of publicity.


  6. Yay!

    Thanks for all your hard work, Craig. It has been fantastic to have such an enthusiastic advocate for New Zealand Crime Fiction. The work you have done increasing the profile of Kiwi crime writers is truly appreciated!!!

  7. Well done Craig, a lot of hard work for a very busy bloke! In the bookstore where I work crime genre is the 2nd highest seller after Sci Fi, so there is a need for an awards recognition for NZ authors. Its a way of lifting the authors profile, so the writers who I think are as good as the Steig Larssons of the world can receive more publicity in their own country.

    By the by, I tried to vote on The Theakstons link but it just keep going to show results and doesnt register my vote.


  8. Brilliant! Good on you all for the hard work.