Festival: Death in July

Next weekend I head to Ballarat for Death in July: A Festival of Women’s Crime Writing.

A collaboration between Sisters in Crime Australia and Ballarat Writers Inc, Death in July is a celebration of Australian women’s crime writing designed to get the blood pumping despite the wintry weather.

I want to say, ‘I’m really looking forward to Death in July’ but that comes out sounding all wrong. We’re talking death in crime fiction, of course. (Perhaps death of the author, too?).

The festival is being held at the new Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka in Ballarat, and I can say unequivocally that I’m looking forward to visiting MADE.

I’m rapt to be invited to give the keynote address at the launch on the state of Australian women’s crime writing. Trouble is, I’ve only got twenty minutes. The question of how to do justice to the breadth and diversity of Australian women’s crime writing in all its nuances in twenty minutes is currently keeping me awake at night — though I just might have worked out a gossamer thin, unifying thread that runs through it. All will be revealed Friday 4 July, 6.00pm. Free event but RSVPs are essential. Information here.

stellar line-up of authors is appearing at the festival all day Saturday to speak on a fascinating range of topics.

First up, at 9.30AM on Saturday, I’ll be on a panel with Honey Brown and Maurilia Meehan, compered by Leigh Redhead, called Gum Shoes or High Heels? We’ll be talking the wild and wonderful directions women’s crime (fiction) is taking.

Following the launch of Ellie Marney‘s new YA crime novel Every Breath at 11.00AM, Ellie will join Simmone Howell and Nansi Kunze to talk  Get ‘Em While They’re Young with compere Lindy Cameron at 11.30AM.

At 2.00PM, Dr Shelley Robertson (senior forensic pathologist), Superintendent Tess Walsh (Crime Department, Victoria Police) and Liz Porter discuss ‘the CSI effect’ with compere Vikki Petraitis in Bones, Ballistics and Boffins: Getting it right in fact and fiction.

Either side of this session will be a reading by Judith Rodriguez from her verse novel The Hanging of Minnie Thwaites, and the launch of Annie Hauxwell‘s third novel in the Catherine Berlin series, A Morbid Habit (see my review here).

At 4.00PM Dominic Brine from ABC Ballarat will chair the Great Crime Writing Debate on the perennial subject of Dames vs Dicks – who does it better? when it comes to crime fiction. I will be joining team captain Vikki Petraitis and Leigh Redhead in arguing that dicks do it better. Yep, you read that correctly. Arguing in favour of the dames are ‘Brothers in Law’ Andrew GrimesJarad Henry, and team captain Robert Gott.

Bookings for individual events or the whole festival can be made here.

Murder at MADE competition
Everyone is invited to participate in the festival by entering the Murder at MADE writing competition. Be inspired by a crime scene established at the festival and write the best start to a crime story. Competition info here. The winner will be immediately following the debate at 5.00PM.

blood-on-ballarat-webBlood on Ballarat
A serial story will be told by ten Ballarat women and broadcast on ABC Radio, also as part of Death In July festival. Starting with crime author Leigh Redhead, the story is evolving as it is passed from one women to the next, each adding a few hundred words to the story. Women who have contributed so far include state parliamentarian Sharon Knight and councillor Vicki Coltman. Creative media producer Yum Studio will film the process. The finished story will also be published by The Courier newspaper and be on display during Death In July on 4 and 5 July at MADE.

Hope to see you in Ballarat for blood and death — in the fictional sense only!



About Angela Savage

Angela Savage is a Melbourne writer, who has lived and travelled extensively in Asia. She won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript, and the Scarlet Stiletto Award short story award. Her latest novel is, Mother of Pearl, published by Transit Lounge. Angela holds a PhD in Creative Writing, is former CEO of Writers Victoria, and currently works as CEO of Public Libraries Victoria.
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16 Responses to Festival: Death in July

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    Sounds like a great event, Angela. I hope you’ll really enjoy it and that you’ll post about it.


  2. Wish I could be there- this sounds great.


    • angelasavage says:

      I think it will be a lot of fun.


      • It sounds like it – I wish more bookish stuff happened in WA ( though I am in QLD at the moment) 🙂


        • angelasavage says:

          Oh Carol, you have so many talented Australian writers in WA: Simone Lazaroo, David Whish-Wilson, Amanda Curtin, Felicity Young, Dawn Barker, Annabel Smith, Natasha Lester, Emma Chapman, Alan Carter – surely this is enough to start some great bookish goings on…


          • I would think so….a great list! Maybe they are just not advertised far and wide? Simone I met at Margaret River Writers Festival a few years ago and she taught my daughter, David Whish Wilson – I met virtually when discussing one of his books, Alan Carter – we have worked on film projects (though in different offices)…


  3. Tyson Adams says:

    As the proud owner of a penis and word processor, I can quite honestly say that my sexual organs have never been used to write. So I’m not sure gender makes a difference to writing ability. Just my two cents.


    • angelasavage says:

      Tyson, we are going to have a lot of fun with this topic. The Sisters in Crime have a history of pitting Dicks against Dames but in the past, the women have always argued in favour of women as better crime writers and the men in favour of men. It will be interesting to see what comes about this year when we reverse roles.

      Heads up (no pun intended) that both penises – or at least, balls – and word processors – or at least, typing – will get a mention in my debate speech.


  4. Pingback: Angela Savage blogs about Death In July | Ballarat Writers Inc

  5. Angela, I am really looking forward to the Festival and your keynote appearance…yes twenty minutes is short but I have confidence in you to deliver the goods…it’s probably going to to be a bit chilly in Ballarat (outside) but the folk inside will give you a warm welcome…cheers Heather


  6. kathy d. says:

    You can do it in 20 minutes! I’ve heard people give 20-minute talks on the Vietnam war, on the U.S. economy, etc. It’s doable, just can’t say all the wonderful things about the terrific crime writers in Oz — unfortunately. But everyone will get the gist.


  7. kathy d. says:

    What would Jayne Keeney say? It’s all good.


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