1890 days, 19 hours since SheKilda 2011 - Australian Women Crime Writers' Convention

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Sue and Ian from Benn's Books - with just one corner of the book room - they carried books from all of our Author guests, and quite a tempting selection it was too!

The registration desk was busy throughout the event - so everyone was carefully supplied with caffeine!

All weekend it was an absolute joy to see people talking - in small groups, in moving groups - here Malla Nunn in the foreground and Pam Newton in the background are ... talking :)

The merchandise corner included the T-Shirts, cards, magazines and a bunch of volunteers who were a joy to be around.

Malla Nunn signing somebody's book during a break in the panels.

From left to right:  Tara Moss, Marianne Delacourt and LIndy Cameron solve the big problems of the world (or decide what to have for lunch....)


From left to right:  Leigh Redhead, Phillipa (P.D.) Martin and Felicity Young catch up.

Co-Convenors Sylvia (left) and Ann (right), part of the fantastic organising team for SheKilda 2011, discuss the important issue of the day.

Co-Convenors Sylvia (left) and Phyllis (right). Phyllis kept a close eye on the schedule and was rarely seen without the program in her hand and one eye on her watch!

Davitt Winners - from left to right: Colleen Egan (True Crime winner), Penny Matthews (Young Adult / Children winner), Leigh Redhead (Highly Commended - Adult Novel) and Katherine Howell (Adult Novel Winner)


Sue Turnbull with our FABULOUS International Guests of Honour - from the left: Margie Orford, Sue Turnbull, Vanda Symon and Shamini Flint

Shamini Flint, Vanda Symon and Margie Orford with a poster for the wine... really it is, a wine poster in the background (oh and the girls from the Body in the Pool session plotting).

The Opening Night really set the tone for the rest of the Convention - on the panel Sue Turnbull as Master of Ceremonies, Aunty Joy Murphy, Margie Orford, Mary Delahunty and Councillor Ken Ong.  A wonderful opening - informative, funny, moving and most of all - exciting and uplifting.

The Magnificent Kerry Greenwood

Davitt Winners - from left to right: Colleen Egan (True Crime winner), Penny Matthews (Young Adult / Children winner), Leigh Redhead (Highly Commended - Adult Novel) and Katherine Howell (Adult Novel Winner) - this time you can just see Shamini Flint off to the right :)


Working from the left of picture - seated:  Sandy Curtis, Amanda Wrangles, Lindy Cameron and Vikki Petratis - at the back Rowena Cory Daniels and Kylie Fox.  Missing for the photograph but at the convention - Kerry Greenwood and David Greagg

Deb (in the centre) was more than a bit pleased when she won the Competition to have her name included in Katherine Howell's next book. Or at least she was until Katherine and Leigh started trading ideas about what sort of character Deb would end up being.....

Bronwyn Parry and Fran Read get up close and laughing at SheKilda.

There's a reason that Fran's in a lot of these photos - so far she's one of the people who REMEMBERED they had their camera with them!

Emma Boling and Helene Young graciously agreeing to a photo at SheKilda

Fran Read and Lindy Cameron with telephones...

Kerry Greenwood and Sulari Gentill having a hug.  Something which seemed to be happening quite a lot...

Kerry Greenwood and Sulari Gentill having a hug.  Something which seemed to be happening quite a lot...

Kerry Greenwood, Carolyn Morwood and Felicity Pulman at one of their combined panels. 

Tara Moss released The Second Cut - Scarlet Stiletto Winners at SheKilda.

Margie Orford, Shamini Flint and Vanda Symon at SheKilda

Tara Moss (left) and Honey Brown (right) at SheKilda

From Left to Right:

Katherine Howell, Yvette Erskine, Helene Young, Kathryn Fox and Pam Newton

At the Davitts Dinner on Saturday Night (left to right):

Sulari Gentill, Felicity Young and Angela Savage

At the Davitts Dinner on Saturday Night (left to right):

Shamini Flint and Sue Turnbull

Tara Moss and Leigh Redhead

Tara Moss and LA Larkin at SheKilda

LA Larkin and Margie Orford

Marianne Delacourt and Tara Moss

Tara Moss and Shamini Flint

Carmel Shute, LA Larkin and Angela Savage

Vanda Symon and LA Larkin

Margie Orford - Keynote Address

LA Larkin, Jane Clifton, Malla Nunn and Nicole Watson


  • Felicity Pullman on SheKilda, "borrowed" from Partners in Crime November/December Newsletter

    I was delighted, and honoured, to be asked to speak at the 2nd SheKilda crime convention held in Melbourne in October.  And what a wonderful weekend it was, being able to meet and listen to (some of) the over 60 authors and crime-writing-related speakers at the convention which was held at Rydges on Swanston Street in Carlton.

    I flew down on Friday morning, so I was in time to join a fascinating walking tour with Meyer Eidelson of melbournewalks.com, titled ‘Solving Melbourne’s Cold Cases’. While the tour didn’t cover much territory geographically, we listened to an account of a plethora of unsolved crimes and mysteries, dating back to Burke’s infatuation with the ‘spider dancer’, the 14 year old Lola Montez which may or may not have been behind his ill-fated dash from Cooper’s Creek to the Gulf of Carpentaria. We heard stories of the ghost of Frederico at the Princess Theatre, a suicide (murder?) in the cathedral, a missing Picasso, the life and times of Squizzy Taylor, and the ‘pyjama girl’, Linda Agostini, along with several other gruesome accounts. We were told there were still large rewards to be claimed for solving these cases – unfortunately, none of us was able to come up with the goods!

    The event proper kicked off with a cocktail party and launch where we were welcomed by senior Wurundjeri elder, Joy Murphy, Councillor Ken Ong and the national Director of Writing Australia, Mary Delahunty, followed by an interesting keynote address from international guest, Margie Orford, who talked about her experiences living in and writing about South Africa. She mentioned the huge crime rate there, such that cases are only investigated if they’re rated as likely to feature on television. She also described how she was burgled on one occasion: how her panties were shredded and tampax arranged in a pattern on her bed – but she didn’t think to report it.

    Saturday and Sunday were filled with difficult decisions: there were so many wonderful sessions to choose from. Saturday began with ‘A World of Crime’ with Margie Orford, Vanda Symon (NZ), and Shamini Flint, who is from India but who lives in Singapore. It was fascinating to listen to them talking about how crime is rooted in ‘psychogeography’, the culture of the place and society in which they live, and how that informs their novels.

    There were planning meetings for my two sessions: ‘Digging up the Past’ with the distinguished and prolific Kerry Greenwood, poet Judith Rodriguez, Sulari Gentill and Carolyn Morwood, chaired by Meg Vann who encouraged us to talk about the historical research and inspiration behind our books. The other session was ‘The Young Frontier’ which I shared with Karen Healey and Nansi Kunze, chaired by Tanya King-Carmichael, during which we discussed our books plus some of the pitfalls when writing for Y/A. I also attended ‘Crimance’ subtitled ‘she always gets her man’, chaired by Anne Gracie and featuring Helene Young, Sandy Curtis and Bronwyn Parry. Judging from the way these authors talked, it seems that blending romance with crimes/mysteries seems like a very good and popular way to go!

    I attended the Davitt awards dinner at the Celtic Club on Saturday night – those Sisters sure know how to enjoy themselves! It was a great night, and with some very worthy winners, see website for details:


    Shamini Flint was the guest speaker, and kept us in stitches with her dry one-liners about writing her Inspector Singh novels. (She calls Insp. Singh ‘Poirot in a turban – but he does like a good curry and a cold beer.’) Born in India, she says she goes home to weddings and funerals (‘especially funerals’) when she needs inspiration.

    I attended two fun (and interesting) sessions on Sunday morning. Vikki Petraitis chaired ‘Laughing in the Dark’ with Kirsty Brooks and Jane Clifton talking about writing humour (and why they choose relatively young protagonists for their books: it’s because they enjoy sending up Gen Y, while menopausal middle aged women are just not that funny to write about!). The next session was ‘Them That Really Do It’ – listening to medico Kathryn Fox, ex-cops YA Erskine and PM Newton and pilot Helen Young talk about why they turned from practising their professions to writing about them. What struck me in particular was how very jaundiced the ex-cops and Kathryn are, and the lack of support they were given.

    During our time at the hotel there was a body in the pool, a Miss Manny Quinn, scantily clad in a red dress and with a stiletto heel through her eye! The area was roped off, and authors were invited to write an opening paragraph pertaining to the ‘crime scene’. Wendy James, Alex Palmer and I were asked to judge the competition, and there were
    some hilarious entries. The prize was awarded after the closing session, which was titled ‘The Body in the Pool: the who-how-whydunit of solving this crime’. We started with the ‘bug lady’, forensic entymologist Mel Archer, who took us through the gruesome details of how to identify and date insect life on the body and thereby ascertain the likely time of death. Sandra Nicholson, the ‘cop lady’, carefully explained in detail how cops would go about securing the scene of the crime, identifying the body, taking statements etc – all grist to the mill for aspiring crime writers! Finally the ‘forensic lady’ discussed such questions as identifying the time of death through various forms of temperature-taking plus what the post mortem can tell you. After much investigation the offender was finally identified and the cuffs put on Carmel Shute, national co-convenor of SIC, after incriminating evidence was found near the body! Vanda

    Symon gave us the final address (from a Kiwi point of view), and a very good time was had by all.

    Congratulations to our sisters in Melbourne for organising such a fabulous conference

  • @SheKilda Observations.... from Kathryn Fox

    From Kathryn to Carmel, Lindy and everyone involved in SheKilda!

    I just wanted to say Congratulations to you, Lindy and everyone involved in the wonderful SheKilda weekend. I can't tell you how great it is to be among intelligent, passionate, funny and socially minded women. The weekend - where do you begin?

    Panels were incredibly thoughtfully put together, and had a wonderful mix of writers. My only complaint is that every session there were multiples panels I wanted to see, running at the same times!!! Suspect that is the only complaint you've had.

    The organisation was extraordinary for the event to have run so seamlessly. Thank you to all the incredibly generous volunteers, and those who gave so much of their time in order to make the event such a success.

    The venue was great - rooms, location and conference facilities, and lunches were yummy, even for those unable to eat gluten. Judging by the way attendees forgot to chew and just inhaled the treats at morning and afternoon teas, they too, were a hit:)

    More than anything, I loved the inclusiveness  and support Sisters In Crime have for each other. Too often, women are anything but supportive of each other's successes, dreams and aspirations. SIC is a great example of what sisters can achieve.

    We all forged wonderful friendships that weekend, had a ball at the Davitt awards dinner, and chatted away til all hours in the bar.

    The final mystery with the body by the pool was pure genius. Sandra Nicholson should be bottled - not pickled, just bottled!

  • Margie Orford on The Circle in the leadup to SheKilda


    In the leadup to SheKilda our International Guest of Honour from South Africa, Margie Orford, appeared on The Circle on Channel 10.  You can view the clip of this TV appearance via the above link.

  • @SheKilda Body in the Pool Writing Competition winner: Christina Lee

    Melbourne weather can derail the best laid plans of mice and (wo)men.

    Months ago, when  SheKilda 2011 organisers investigated Rydges on Swanston as a convention venue, they took one collective look at the rooftop pool adjoining the meeting rooms and started to plot a Body in the Pool writing competition.

    For the opening cocktail party, a small gang of conspirators artfully arranged the female ‘body’ which had (notionally) been dragged from the pool. The victim had a green stiletto plunged into her right eye and was surrounded by (real) Victoria Police tape.  All sorts of ID, credit and loyalty cards spilled out of the handbag lying next to the body.


    The body, later identified as Ms Manny Quinn, was to be the star attraction on the rooftop but, being Melbourne, it started to rain just as the cocktail party kicked off so most participants (except for a few diehard smokers) couldn’t start penning the best opening paragraph for a crime story about Quinn’s murder until they stumbled across the crime scene until the next day.








    Twenty-one attendees got their entries in by the end of Saturday’s proceedings and the verdict of the judges – crime writers Alex Palmer, Flick (Felicity) Pulman and Wendy James – was unanimous. The winner was long-term member, Christina Lee, the winner of two Scarlet Stiletto trophies, for this opening paragraph :

    A crime of passion, or a crime against fashion? I’d certainly want to kill anyone who wore green stilettos with a red top, thought Gloria. She ground out the stub of her pink Sobranie with her own nine-inch spike and shivered in the Melbourne gloom. Inside, the health-conscious were sipping champagne without a care in the world. There were definite disadvantages to being a smoker these days. For one thing, it was always you that found the body.


    It was one occasion when crime did pay – Christina walked away with a pile of true crime books, a bottle of Killer Stiletto wine and a fabulous chocolate stiletto shoe which she has proudly stored in her fridge in Brisbane.


    The murder itself was ‘solved’ in the plenary session by former Assistant Victoria Police Commissioner, Sandra Nicholson, forensic entomologist Mel Archer and forensic pathologist Linda Iles who replaced the ill Shelley Robertson at the last moment. After ‘dissecting’ the body and hearing the evidence of a witness, Sandra Nicholson produced handcuffs (in SheKilda red) and promptly arrested founding Sisters in Crime convenor, Carmel Shute, and led her off to choruses of laughter.

    It appears that Carmel had been so stressed out by helping to organise SheKilda that she been patronising the Hellfire Club – a secret that Manny Quinn threatened to expose. Carmel’s been told she might get time off for good behaviour to help organise the next SheKilda (whenever that is!)

  • @SheKilda Evidence

    It did happen - it's not just a figment of our increasingly overactive imaginations.  Just to prove it we're starting to upload some of the wonderful photographs taken to a slideshow on the front page of the website  - then we'll get audio and video sorted out.  If you have any photos you'd like to include please send them to me (karen@shekilda.com.au).

Convention Information

About the Convention

Book Convention

Book Convention

Book a Room

Book a Room

Book a Room

Convention Program

SheKilda Convention: 7-9 October 2011
Davitt Awards Dinner presented by Singapore-based author, Shamini Flint: 8 October 2011 - 7.00pm

For more about the Convention Organisers, Sisters in Crime Australia - please visit our website

You can book a room at Rydges on Swanston right now - using their own website follow the link above to Rydges on Swanston.


International Guests of Honour

Margie Orford
Margie Orford
Vanda Symon
Vanda Symon
Shamini Flint
Shamini Flint