Last Sunday, the second-ever Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel was presented in Christchurch, to Paul Cleave for his dark thriller set in a near-dystopian version of that very city, BLOOD MEN. The Award was part of "Setting the Stage for Murder", a fantastic event put on by the Christchurch Writers Festival, as part of the 2011 Christchurch Arts Festival. It was great to have so many crime writers, and readers, in one place - a rarity for New Zealand. The event had six authors on stage (internationals John Hart and Tess Gerritsen, followed by the four Ngaio Marsh Award finalists: Paul Cleave, Paddy Richardson, Neil Cross, and Alix Bosco/Greg McGee), and several others at the event, in the audience, and at the post-match lunch.
2010 finalist Vanda Symon came up from Dunedin for the day to support her fellow crime writers, 2011 longlistee Ben Sanders came down from Auckland (fellow longlistee Andrew Grant was also in the audience), and others from the books and writing world were also in the audience. It's great to see such support for locally-written crime fiction - hopefully things will get even bigger and better in future years.
Symon has today shared her own report of the big day. You can read it in full at her blog, Overkill, here.
The photo above was taken at the post-event lunch at Kate Sheppard house - quite possibly the most crime writers all in one place, ever, in New Zealand. Unfortunately Andrew Grant/grant Shanks, Alix Bosco/Greg McGee, and Ben Sanders had already left by the time this photo was taken, but it's still a fairly murderous line-up! Left to right: a bashful Neil Cross, Paul Cleave, Craig Sisterson (myself), Vanda Symon, Tess Gerritsen, Paddy Richardson, and John Hart. I must be the only one there that's not a serial killer (in a literary sense, I mean, of course). It was a terrific day, and hopefully is just the start of things to come.