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.