The Wheeler Centre
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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; writers of thrillers, true-crime investigations and classic whodunnits. Each writer shares a short reflection or provocation on the crime genre, followed by a panel discussion. They discuss sub-genres, ethics and aesthetics – and what crime writing can tell us about ourselves and the world we live in. Hosted by Emma Viskic, with Sulari Gentill, Mark Brandi, Rachael Brown, Laura Elizabeth Woollett and Gary Disher.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mark Brandi graduated with a criminal justice degree and worked extensively in the justice system, before changing direction and deciding to write. His shorter work has appeared in The Guardian, The Age, the Big Issue, and in journals both here and overseas.