Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel: watch this space!

Due to the Canterbury earthquake last month, what was looking like it would be an absolutely fantastic edition of The Press Christchurch Writers' Festival, was understandably cancelled.

Unfortunately this meant that the presentation of the first-ever Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel (pictured right) was also affected, as the winner was due to be announced at the marquee Friday night event at the Festival. However, in some good news, we are now very close to confirming a replacement one-off event in Christchurch next month for the presentation of the inaugural award. I will have specific details regarding the date and venue etc for you in the coming days.

You can read a little more about the Ngaio Marsh Award and contemporary New Zealand crime fiction in a terrific article by Philip Matthews of Fairfax Magazines, here.

Once event details are confirmed, publicity about the Award and the New Zealand crime writers involved will step up a notch again - in some ways it feels like we all just took a big breath after the earthquake, and things have been put on hold for several weeks. But we are now back on track, and I will keep you all up to date with what is going on for what will, I suppose, perhaps be something of a landmark event in the history of New Zealand crime fiction. Just a little delayed. It should make for a good story in years to come, about the first year of what will hopefully become a longstanding and sought-after award (especially as no-one was too badly hurt, physically, in the earthquake).

So those of you who are reading the three finalists now have 3-4 weeks to formulate your own opinion, before the official announcement. And booksellers have more time to promote all three finalists prior to the winner being announced. If any of you need any help sourcing copies of the three finalists, or other New Zealand crime fiction you'd like to give a go, please feel free to get in touch with me (craigsisterson[at]hotmail[dot]com) and I'll do my best to help.

THE THREE finalists for the inaugural Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel, which will be presented at a ceremony in Christchurch next month, were announced in August. The award is made for the best crime, mystery, or thriller novel written by a New Zealand citizen or resident, published in New Zealand during 2009.

A panel of seven local and international judges considered the best of locally written crime and thriller fiction published last year. The three finalists are:

The international judges said CUT & RUN was “complex and suspenseful” and had “scenes and incidents which are jaw-droppingly good”, that BURIAL “maintained the tension and the atmosphere from beginning to end, keeping the atmosphere creepy”, and that CONTAINMENT had “an attractive series heroine (feisty but vulnerable)” while starting with a “superb” opening scene that by itself would make the judge “want to read more Vanda Symon”.
The Awards namesake, Dame Ngaio Marsh, is renowned worldwide as one of the four “Queens of Crime” of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, having published 32 novels featuring Inspector Roderick Alleyn between 1934 and her death in 1982. With sales in the millions, and her books still in print to this day, Dame Ngaio is possibly New Zealand’s bestselling author, ever.
After the nature-caused delay, are you still keen to find out who has won the inaugural Ngaio Marsh Award? What do you think of the three finalists for the first-ever award? Have you read any of them? Do you agree with the judges? Which is your favourite? What Kiwi crime novels might be in the running for the 2011 award, based on this year's books? Thoughts and comments welcome.

1 comment:

  1. Craig - Thanks so much for this update :-). I appreciate knowing what's going on with that award. I'm truly hoping Containment wins. But then, I am biased.. ;-)