Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Setting the Stage for Murder...

Back in April I said that crime fiction fans should "watch this space" when it came to the upcoming 2010 The Press Christchurch Writers' Festival, because unlike the Auckland Writers Festival, it looked like there would be plenty of crime and thriller fiction happenings this year in the city that was home to Dame Ngaio Marsh.

Well, the 2010 Programme has now been published, and I'm pleased to say that this year's Festival looks like it will be another absolute cracker - both in terms of crime/thriller content, and many other fantastic events for booklovers of all types. Later this week I will highlight all the crime/thriller fiction related events on the programme, but for now I just wanted to point out the granddaddy of them all, the Friday night feature: Setting the Stage for Murder.

Here is the blurb from the Festival website:

Setting the Stage for Murder
With the presentation of the 2010 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel
Come dressed to kill and looking daggers for this gory gathering. The Court Jesters will open a night to remember by giving all amateur sleuths and armchair gumshoes the chance to construct and solve a murder most foul.

Then four of today’s outstanding crime writers will discuss the state of the modern crime novel with well-known book blogger and crime aficionado, Graham Beattie. This nefarious night will culminate with the presentation of the first-ever Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel.

A panel of local and international judges has been considering the best of locally written crime and thriller fiction published in 2009, and will produce a three-book shortlist in the lead-up to The Press Christchurch Writers’ Festival, with the winner to be announced on the night. It is fitting that New Zealand’s first-ever crime fiction award will be presented in Christchurch, given the city’s status as the hometown of New Zealand’s own doyenne of the mystery writing genre, Dame Ngaio Marsh, who was renowned worldwide as one of the four ‘Queens of Crime’ of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction.

So find out whodunnit and whowunnit and have a murderously marvellous evening.

Friday 10 September, 7.00pm, Limes Room Christchurch Town Hall, $25/23

The four crime writers on the panel with Graham "Bookman" Beattie are Michael Robotham (Australia), Simon Kernick (UK), Neil Cross (NZ/UK), and Vanda Symon (NZ) - so it should be a fantastic night. You can read more about the evening, and each of the four authors, here.

I urge any crime fiction fans in New Zealand, both those in Christchurch and further afield, to head along to the 2010 The Press Christchurch Writers' Festival. Along with the above-mentioned quartet, other crime writers like Liam McIlvanney, Paul Thomas, and Paul Cleave will also be in attendance for events, and other budding and published local crime writers may be in the audience and generally hanging out (hopefully).

Hopefully Setting the Stage for Murder, and the other crime fiction events, will be a great success, and this will encourage more such events to be held in future.

So, what do you think of the Setting the Stage for Murder event? Of the 2010 The Press Christchurch Writers' Festival line-up in general - crime fiction and otherwise? Who are authors you would love to see/meet? What events most excite you? What do you think of the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel. I'd love to read your thoughts.


  1. I'm working that night, but I'll try to sneak out for a couple of hours ...

    Give yourself a pat pn the back for your accomplishments in putting the awards together, mate.
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    "Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

  2. Craig - I'm impressed with the awards and with the festival. I truly wish I could be there...

  3. Still a few things to sort between now and then, before there can be any back-patting, but I appreciate the thought Peter.

    We would have loved to have you here too Margot. Maybe you should think about NZ for a holiday sometime - with a Crime and Thriller Writing Society being set up down here, we'd be able to create some event just for you when you were here.