Group Texts: Hit List: Australian Crime Writing
It’s no mystery that Australian crime writers are on some kind of a rampage – some kind of a spree – filling bookshops, racing up bestseller lists and taking over big and small screens across the globe.
Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies has been a major TV hit. The series’ executive producer, Reese Witherspoon, is now working on a movie adaptation of Jane Harper's The Dry. Local audiences have been glued to the Jack Irish ABC TV series and to podcasts such as Trace and The Teacher’s Pet, and the last few years have seen a juggernaut of local book sales for established names and newcomers alike.
In our second Group Texts event, celebrating great Australian genre writers, we hear from some of the stars of Australian crime writing – Emma Viskic, Mark Brandi, Sulari Gentill, Laura Elizabeth Woollett, Rachael Brown and Garry Disher. Each writer shares a short reflection or provocation on the crime genre, followed by a panel discussion. Our speakers discuss thrilling sub-genres, ethics and aesthetics, the rise of ‘outback noir’ and more.
Emma Viskic’s critically acclaimed Caleb Zelic series has been published world-wide. Resurrection Bay won the Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction and an unprecedented three Davitt Awards. It was shortlisted for the UK’s prestigious Gold Dagger and New Blood Awards and the USA’s Barry Award. And Fire Came Down was winner of the 2018 Davitt Award for Best Novel and Darkness for Light received the 2020 Davitt Reader’s Choice Award.
Mark Brandi's bestselling novel, Wimmera, won the coveted British Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger, and was named Best Debut at the 2018 Australian Indie Book Awards. It was also shortlisted for the Australian Book Industry Awards Literary Fiction Book of the Year, and the Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year. The Rip is his second novel.
Sulari Gentill is the award-winning author of 13 books including the Rowland Sinclair series. Her book Crossing the Lines won the Ned Kelly Award for best crime novel in 2018.
Laura Elizabeth Woollett is a Melbourne-based author. Her short story collection The Love of a Bad Man (2016) was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Fiction and the Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction in 2017.
Her latest novel, Beautiful Revolutionary (2018), follows a young couple who join Jim Jones' Peoples Temple in late 1960s California. She is currently working on her next book, The Newcomer, a murder mystery set on a fictional island.
Rachael Brown is a broadcast journalist. In 2002, after graduating from RMIT, she began her career with the ABC, where she has held several postings, including Europe correspondent from 2010 to 2013. In 2008, she won her first Walkley Award, for Best Radio Current Affairs Report, for her investigation into the Victorian Medical Practitioners Board whose negligence contributed to the sexual assaults of a dozen women. Rachael was the creator, investigator, and host of the ABC's first true-crime podcast, Trace, which won the 2017 Walkley Award for Innovation. The podcast also won two 2017 Quill Awards: for Innovation, and for Best Podcast. Rachael lives in Melbourne, Victoria.
Garry Disher has published fifty titles across multiple genres. His last standalone novel, Bitter Wash Road, won the 2016 German Crime Prize, a prize he has previously won twice. He’s also the recipient of two Ned Kelly best crime novel awards and last year he received the Ned Kelly Lifetime Achievement Award. His latest novel is Consolation.