Does crime-writing pay?
The newest writing festival in Melbourne – Reader’s Feast Crime and Justice – is blessed with several patrons: international champion of crime fiction, Ian Rankin; international social justice patron, Irish human-rights barrister Brendan Kilty; and Australian crime patron, novelist Kerry Greenwood. It has also racked up a host of top-notch guests for its first bash, which will be held at the Abbotsford Convent.
Local crime writers listed to speak include Gabrielle Lord, Barry Maitland, Michael Robotham, Marshall Browne, Garry Disher, Sidney Bauer, P. D. Martin, Dorothy Johnston, Lenny Bartulin, Lauren Crow, Robert Gott, Leigh Redhead, and Angela Savage.
According to program director Simon Clews, this is the “biggest assembly of crime writers ever in Australia”.
To that list can be added poet Dorothy Porter, author of the bestselling crime verse novel, Monkey’s Mask. Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser, Legal Services Commissioner Victoria Marles and writer and activist Arnold Zable will also be there on the weekend of July 18-20 with Rod Quantock, who will be speaking on “My Idea of Justice”, a sort-of soapbox event that will recur over the three days.
The festival will also present two awards in conjunction with Eureka Street for social-justice writing. The open category will be worth $5000 to the writer of the best essay on a human rights issue and for under-35s, $1500. More info: crimeandjusticefestival.com
[From Jason Steger’s column]