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A short story competition for writers of mysteries

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on June 22, 2012

Since I began interviewing spec fic writers I’ve noticed that many of them also write mysteries*. I think the world building needed to write SF or fantasy is similiar in some ways to the world building needed to craft a mystery.

Here’s a short story competition run by the Sisters in Crime (Australia) – The Scarlet Stiletto Awards.  The only caveat is that it is open to women writers, because this is the Sisters in Crime, not Siblings in Crime. This is the announcement:

19th Scarlet Stiletto Awards Crime short story competition now open

Sisters in Crime Australia’s 19th Scarlet Stiletto Awards, Australia’s only crime writing competition for women, are now open with a record $5350 up for grabs.

Note: the increases in the Harper Collins 1st prize and the Allen & Unwin’s and 2 new awards:

  • Athenaeum Library ‘Body in the Library’ competition $1000/$500 runner-up for the best crime story containing the words ‘body in the library’.
  • Catherine Leppert Award for ‘best environmental theme’ ($250).

Other prizes include:

Harper Collins 1st prize (now $1000) plus the coveted scarlet stiletto trophy

Kill City Bookshop 2nd prize ($400)

The Cate Kennedy 3rd prize ($350)

Allen & Unwin Young Writers’ Award (now $500) for writers 18 or under.

The Kerry Greenwood Malice Domestic Award ($500)

Benn’s Books: Best Investigative story ($200 voucher)

ScriptWorks Great Film Idea Award: ($200)


Pulp Fiction Bookshop: Funniest Crime Award ($150 voucher)

Thanks also to Spinifex Books


To explore what makes a winning story, you might want to read Scarlet Stiletto: The Second Cut, a collection of 22 winning stories from the last four year of the competition, and the  reprint of Scarlet Stiletto: The First Cut, a volume of 26 stories from the first 13 years,  published by ClanDestine Press for SheKilda 2011: Australian Women Crime Writers’ Convention, Sisters in Crime’s 20th anniversary celebrations. Scarlet Stiletto: The Second Cut was The Age’s ‘Book of the Week’ on 17 December last year. (Copies can be ordered via Sisters in Crime web site. )

The 19th Scarlet Stiletto Awards close on August 31, 2012. Entry fee: $10. Maximum story length: 5000 word. Entry forms are available or writing to Sisters in Crime Australia, GPO Box 5319, Melbourne 3001

Further info: Contact Carmel Shute, National Co-convenor, Sisters in Crime Australia 0412 569 356

*Watch out for my noir-paranormal-crime The Price of Fame.

2 Responses to “A short story competition for writers of mysteries”

  1. Louise Curtis said

    Ooh! I love the scarlet stiletto awards – I’ve won the youth section and the kerry greenwood section, and the prize money is awesome.

    Louise Curtis

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