As a nation mired in certain delinquent traditions, you might say that Australians are overachievers in the field of crime writing. Amongst us, though, Peter Temple was one of the very best.
His prose elevated crime fiction to literary significance, too. In addition to winning prestigious crime fiction prizes including five Ned Kelly Awards and the Crime Writers’ Association Duncan Lawrie Dagger – the first Australian to claim the Gold Dagger – his last novel, Truth, won the Miles Franklin.
Temple died in March this year, a couple of days shy of his 72nd birthday. To celebrate his contribution to Australia’s crime fiction canon, we’ll bring together some of his contemporaries, friends and admirers for a night of readings from his work – and stories from his own life. Hosted by Jason Steger.
Jason Steger is books editor at The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.
He was a regular panelist on ABC TV's The Book Club.
Kerryn Goldsworthy is a freelance writer and critic, and a former academic who lectured in literature at the University of Melbourne for 17 years.
A former editor of Australian Book Review and a member of the editorial team that produced The Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature (2009), she has edited four other anthologies of Australian writing and has published essays, articles, reviews, short stories and literary criticism – including a collection of short stories, North of the Moonlight Sonata, and a critical study of the work of Helen Garner. Her most recent book is Adelaide (2011) in the NewSouth ‘Cities’ series.
Kerryn was the Australian Book Review Ian Potter Foundation Fellow in 2013. In the same year, she won the Pascall Prize for cultural criticism, earning the title Australian Critic of the Year. She was the inaugural Chair of the Stella Prize judging panel (2013–2015) and won the 2017 Horne Prize for her essay ‘The Limit of the World’. She lives and works in her home town of Adelaide.
Gold Dagger winning and Edgar shortlisted author Michael Robotham was born in Australia in November 1960, and grew up in small country towns that had more dogs than people and more flies than dogs. He escaped in 1979 and became a cadet journalist on an afternoon newspaper in Sydney.
For the next 14 years he wrote for newspapers and magazines in Australia, Britain and America. As a senior feature writer for the UK’s Mail on Sunday he was among the first people to view the letters and diaries of Czar Nicholas II and his wife Empress Alexandra, unearthed in the Moscow State Archives in 1991. He also gained access to Stalin’s Hitler files, which had been missing for nearly fifty years until a cleaner stumbled upon a cardboard box that had been misplaced and misfiled.
In 1993, he quit journalism to become a ghostwriter, collaborating with politicians, pop stars, psychologists, adventurers and showbusiness personalities to write their autobiographies. Twelve of these non-fiction titles were bestsellers, with combined sales of more than 2 million copies.
His partially completed first novel, a psychological thriller called The Suspect, caused a bidding war at the London Book Fair in 2002. Soon afterwards it was chosen by the world’s largest consortium of book clubs as only the fifth International Book of the Month, making it the top recommendation to 28 million book club members in 15 countries. He has since written 12 further novels.
Michael lives on Sydney's northern beaches, where he thinks dark thoughts in his 'cabana of cruelty' – a name bestowed by his three daughters, who happily poke fun at the man who has fed, clothed and catered to their every expensive whim. Where is the justice?
As well as being an author and editor, Michael Heyward is the managing director and publisher for Text Publishing, a multi-award-winning independent publishing company in Melbourne.
Ian Collie is one of Australia’s most experienced producers and the founder of Easy Tiger, having previously run the Scripted division of Essential Media which was awarded the Screen Producers of Australia ‘Producer of the Year’ in 2012.
Louise Thurtell has worked in publishing for nearly 30 years – starting out at Harper Collins before moving to Transworld, Random House and Allen & Unwin. Louise will never forget sitting down to read the manuscript of Peter Temple's Bad Debts in 1995, and knowing within the first page she had to do everything in her power to buy it. She went on to publish five more of Temple's novels before taking a break from publishing to have children.
In 2005, Louise was the recipient of Australia’s premier award for editing, the Beatrice Davis Editorial Fellowship. Louise’s most recent in-house publishing job involved setting up the Arena imprint at Allen & Unwin, where she also initiated Friday Pitch, Australian publishing’s first electronic submission system. Louise is now a freelance editor and publishing consultant.
Award-winning actress Marta Dusseldorp has worked extensively in theatre, film and television and is one of Australia’s most recognised actresses.
Born in Hamilton in western Victoria in 1953, Shane Maloney is one of Australia’s most popular novelists. His award-winning and much-loved Murray Whelan series – Stiff, The Brush-Off, Nice Try, The Big Ask, Something Fishy and Sucked In – has been published around the world.
In 1996, The Brush-Off won the Ned Kelly Prize for Crime Fiction. In 2004, Stiff and The Brush-Off were made into telemovies starring David Wenham as Murray Whelan. In 2009, Shane Maloney was presented with the Crime Writers’ Association of Australia Lifetime Achievement Award.