Female crime novelists to lure fans to festival

AUSTRALIA’S top female crime novelists will chill Ballarat to its bones this winter.

Festival organiser Jill Blee is waiting eagerly for a spine-chilling event. PICTURE: JUSTIN WHITELOCK

Festival organiser Jill Blee is waiting eagerly for a spine-chilling event. PICTURE: JUSTIN WHITELOCK

The nation’s premiere women’s whodunit writers will gather for the inaugural Death in July Festival.

To be held at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka on July 4 and 5, the festival  will begin with a gala opening and keynote address by seasoned crime writer Angela Savage.

Authors Maurilia Meehan, who was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin award, Leigh Redhead, Honey Brown, Ellie Marney and Simmone Howell, plus forensic pathologist Dr Shelley Robertson, will be among the festival’s guest speakers.

Co-hosted by Ballarat Writers and Sisters in Crime Australia, Death in July would treat festival-goers to the best in Australian women’s crime writing, organiser Jill Blee said.

“There will be plenty of advice for budding crime writers, and readers will have the opportunity to meet their favourite writers,” Ms Blee said.

She also said winter was the perfect time to hold the festival.

“Snuggling up to a good whodunit is the best way to cope with the cold outside.”

Sisters in Crime national co-convenor Carmel Shute said its 400-plus Victorian members were already packing their winter woollies.

“We’re delighted to be conspiring with Ballarat Writers to bring top women’s crime writing to Ballarat,” Ms Shute said.

Ballarat residents can take part in the Murder at M.A.D.E writing competition, which opens at the launch event with the winner declared the following afternoon.

The festival will be capped off with a debate dubbed ‘Dames versus Dicks’, where popular crime authors of both sexes will argue whether women or men are the best in the business, and the audience will be the judge.

For more information and tickets, go to www.ballaratwriters.com.

fiona.henderson@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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