Melbourne’s annual Emerging Writers Festival (EWF) takes place next month, and I have the great pleasure and privilege of chairing a panel at the EWF centrepiece, the National Writers Conference. As the EWF website puts it, ‘the National Writers’ Conference is the place to be for emerging writers hungry to hear from leaders in the field, develop their skills, and meet other excited word-nerds.’
The session I’m chairing is called ‘Murder They Wrote’ and features – wait for it – authors Melina Marchetta (also a conference ambassador), Jock Serong and Mark Brandi. I’m so damn excited, I could hyperventilate.
Melina Marchetta is, of course, a total legend, an award-winning and renowned author of young adult fiction. Her first foray into crime writing is the gripping novel, Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil (possibly my favourite crime title of the decade), which I’m currently reading.
Jock Serong, as readers of this blog would know, is among my favourite contemporary Australian crime writers. His latest, The Rules of Backyard Cricket, made my list of top reads for 2016, and was also shortlisted for a Victorian Premiers’ Literary Award. His new novel, On the Java Ridge is next on my TBR pile.
Speaking of the Victorian Premiers’ Literary Awards, Mark Brandi’s debut novel, Wimmera, was highly commended as an unpublished manuscript, and won the prestigious UK Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger in 2016. In Wimmera, Mark pulls off the literary crime balance of pace and lyricism, with characters who hung around to haunt me long after I finished the book.
The program blurb for our session is:
Our best crime writers hold a mirror up to society, using crimes to illuminate our darker sides. How does great crime writing teach us fundamental truths about ourselves? Crime writers talk about writing unlikable characters, suspense, violence and deception.