Friday, March 18, 2011

Stella Duffy a finalist for 23rd Lambda Literary Awards

Finalists for the Lambda Literary Awards were announced this week by the Lambda Literary Foundation in Los Angeles, and I'm very pleased to note that UK/Kiwi writer Stella Duffy's novel PARALLEL LIES was one of the five finalists in the 'Lesbian Mystery' category (alongside another of Crime Watch's favourite authors - both for her writing and personality - Val McDermid) - hat tip to Crimespree Magazine for the heads-up.

The Awards, now in their twenty-third year, celebrate achievement in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) writing for books published in 2010. Winners will be announced at a May 26 ceremony in New York at the School of Visual Arts Theater (333 West 23rd Street).

PARALLEL LIES was originally published in the UK in 2005, but was released in the USA last year. Here's the blurb:
They say the truth matters. Not in Hollywood, it doesn’t. In Hollywood, you need to lie because Hollywood doesn’t need lesbians.

That’s the deal, and Yana Ivanova is Hollywood’s biggest star. So Yana Ivanova has a boyfriend called Jimmy. And a PA called Penny. But hey, Yana and Penny live in a very glamorous closet.

But then letters start to arrive. From a writer who knows the truth. Yana fears blackmail but she is terrified of bad publicity. And she clearly has a lot to lose.

And soon there’s an accident—or maybe it’s murder. Not that it matters, this is Hollywood. And more than anything else, the show must go on. All anyone expects—from other people, and even from themselves—is what Hollywood needs: Parallel Lies."

Sounds intriguing - I thought I had all of Duffy's mysteries on my bookshelf, but I don't think I have this one, so I'll have to ferret out a copy. It's available from here, here, and Book Depository here.

The mult-talented Stella Duffy grew up in the small rural town of Tokoroa in New Zealand (a town revolving largely around the forestry industry). From a crime-writing perspective, Duffy is most famous for her Saz Martin series. However Duffy is also a writer of other ‘styles’ of books, an actress, comedian and improviser, and has also written for radio. She is the author of twelve novels (five in the Saz Martin series), over thirty stories, and eight plays.

Duffy' novel STATE OF HAPPINESS was longlisted for the 2004 Orange Prize. She has also worked on screenplays and teleplays, and co-edited the crime collection TART NOIR with Lauren Henderson (Duffy’s story in that collection, “Martha Grace”, won the 2002 CWA Short Story Award). She was the Stonewall Writer of the Year in 2008 for THE ROOM OF LOST THINGS. Her latest novel THEODORA: ACTRESS, EMPRESS, WHORE, a novel based on the story of Theodora of Constantinople, who "rose from nothing to become the most powerful woman in the history of Byzantine Rome", and a saint of the Orthodox Church, received great reviews last year.

You can read my 9mm interview with Stella Duffy here.

The Lambda Literary Awards have several categories, however for those of us passionate about crime fiction, here are the finalists for the two categories that matter most:

Lesbian Mystery:
The Cruel Ever After , Ellen Hart Minotaur/St. Martin’s Press
Fever of the Bone, Val McDermid HarperCollins
Missing Lynx, Kim Baldwin & Xenia Alexiou Bold Strokes Books
Parallel Lies, Stella Duffy Bywater Books
Water Mark, J.M. Redmann Bold Strokes Books

Gay Mystery
Cockeyed, Richard Stevenson MLR Press
Echoes, David Lennon Blue Spike Publishing
Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers, I.E. Woodward iUniverse
Smoked, Garry Ryan NeWest Press
Vieux Carre Voodoo, Greg Herren Bold Strokes Books

Have you read PARALLEL LIES, or any of the other Lambda Award finalists? Have you read Duffy's Saz Martin series, or her other work? Thoughts welcome.

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