CRAIG SISTERSON is a lapsed Kiwi lawyer and feature writer. He’s discussed the crime and thriller genre on national radio, top podcasts and onstage at festivals.
He’s also the author of the HRF Keating Award (UK) and Macavity Prize (US) shortlisted Southern Cross Crime, a readers’ guide to Australian and New Zealand crime fiction, film, and television.
Can you tell us how the Dark Deeds Down Under anthology came about?
In the nascent stages, a lot of credit goes to Lindy Cameron, who is the publisher at Clan Destine Press and long-time National Co-Convenor of Sisters in Crime Australia, an organisation that’s had a huge impact on the local crime and thriller genre in Australia.
When they started 30 years ago there were a handful of active female crime writers in Australia; now there are hundreds, and they’re flying the flag for us all over the world. Lindy called me in London with an offer: to be the Commissioning Editor of a pretty special anthology celebrating modern Australian and New Zealand crime and thriller writing.
It’s a dream role as I’ve tried during my 13+ years as a writer to shine more light on our crime writers with international publications, festivals, and my own recent book.
What was the response of the local crime writing community to this project?
The first thing I did was make a big old ‘dream list’ of a diverse array of Aussie and Kiwi storytellers. I thought many people would say no as they’d be too busy. We wanted to showcase our local genre to readers at home and abroad, with brand-new stories starring some beloved series characters, as well as stand-alone tales and exciting new voices.
But when I started making video calls that first weekend last year, I struck a wee problem: almost everyone said yes! I don’t craig sisterson think I got even a third of the way down my dream list and we already had more stories than we needed for one anthology. So this is volume one of Dark Deeds Down Under, and there’s a lot more to come!
Can you tell us about some of what’s in Dark Deeds Down Under?
This first volume has 19 short stories from some of the brightest talents from our part of the world. It’s a constellation that includes new tales from three legendary Ned Kelly Lifetime Achievement Award winners (Garry Disher, Kerry Greenwood, Shane Maloney), several authors who’ve won or been shortlisted for major awards in Australia and internationally, and some exciting newer voices.
We have a new Sam Shephard tale from Vanda Symon, a Rowly Sinclair tale from Sulari Gentill, a new Nancys tale from R W R McDonald. Readers get a prequel story to Dinuka McKenzie’s novel The Torrent and cracking standalone tales from the likes of Aoife Clifford, Lisa Fuller, Renée and David Whish-Wilson. Dan Rabarts and Lee Murray blend thrills with supernatural, Helen Vivienne Fletcher shows laughter can be deadly and, in a surprise twist, Dark Deeds Down Under also includes the first new Murray Whelan story from Shane Maloney in 15 years. That’s just part of the treasure trove.