Ngaio Marsh founder Craig Sisterson’s insight into how and why he started this award. (Part 2)

Ngaio Marsh founder Craig Sisterson’s insight into how and why he started this award. (Part 1)

 

 

4. Given the expanding audio market and the fact that the bigger festivals haven’t recognised this as a category in its own right, would you consider adding one?

Candidly, it’s not something that’s on the immediate agenda for us.

I think audiobooks are terrific, but we’ve only recently started adding categories to the Ngaio Marsh Awards (we added Best First Novel last year, in the seventh year of the awards, and Best Non Fiction this year). If we were to add other categories in future, I think it’s likely that we’d first focus on crime storytelling that isn’t yet covered at least in part by the current awards, eg short stories or unpublished books, before audiobooks – which are a great resource but their authors and stories can be recognised by the current awards (even if the narrators can’t be).

5. Stella Duffy is completing an unfinished Marsh novel, would you like to see her write new books in Marsh’s style, continuing the work, as Sophie Hannah has done with Christie’s Poirot?

Stella Duffy is a tremendously talented storyteller, and I would happily read anything she writes, whether historical, literary, or crime (okay, her crime stuff is likely to end up higher in my TBR pile, but her other books are fab too). Have you read THE HIDDEN ROOM, her psychological thriller that came out this year? It’s really good – in fact I think it will give our Best Crime Novel judges plenty to ponder for the 2018 Ngaio Marsh Awards.

I’m very curious to read MONEY IN THE MORGUE when it comes out next March; it’s an exciting time for New Zealand crime writing to have such a great modern writer carrying on the adventures of Inspector Alleyn.

Selfishly, I’d love to see Stella write more crime fiction, because she’s so damned good at it, and brings interesting perspectives along with her storytelling skill. Whether that means more Inspector Alleyn tales, or other types of crime novels or thrillers, I’m happy either way. I’m just very pleased to have her back in the #yeahnoir fold.

6. What made you decide on having an award for non-fiction and how do intend to expand the awards?

After introducing the Best First Novel category last year for debut crime novels, I’d been thinking about what other categories we might add in future. True crime writing is huge in Australia, our cousins over the ditch, and there have been some really really good New Zealand true crime books over the years, though we haven’t traditionally produced as many on an annual basis. As long as I can remember we’ve had some great investigative and longform journalistic crime writing in New Zealand, from the likes of Donna Chisholm, Mike White, and others. Features articles and campaigns that have led to wrongful convictions being overturned, or have changed public perception about well-known criminal cases.
Then I realised that there had been a wee surge in terms of books, not just feature articles, lately, which gave us a dozen or more contenders to consider if we had a Non Fiction Award this year (plus there are several great 2017 releases which could be eligible for a future award). So it just seemed that the time was right to launch this category and celebrate our excellent true crime writers and non-fiction authors who write about the crime genre.
In terms of expansion, I think the next logical step would be either a short story award (perhaps run as a competition for people to enter new crime short stories, rather than recognising stories already published), or an unpublished crime novel award to encourage and support the next generation of #yeahnoir writers.

Alex – these answers from Craig have shown how the differences between the UK market and the market Down Under can learn from each other. His ideas to expand the awards, acknowledging other categories that have been overlooked by others show his awareness of the genre and the different ways that readers absorb their fix of crime.
I thank him for his detailed answers and his advice on setting up awards and I may wish to do this in future, so keep your eyes peeled.

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