BAD 2024 FESTIVAL

12-14 Sept 2024, State Library of NSW

BAD SYDNEY 2023

Crime Writers Festival

Welcome to BAD 2023, the place for every crime story. We’re bigger, badder and better than ever with new offerings, as well as your favourite fiction, true crime and social justice events, to entertain, inform and provoke from 1-5 November, all day and into the evenings.

We bring you an opening night crime edition of Literary Death Match on Wednesday November 1. Four writers address our Festival theme A place for every crime story on Wednesday 2. Find the murderer in the Whodunnit evening on Saturday November 4 and don’t miss your favourite crime trivia night on Friday 3 and the  announcement of three Danger Awards for fiction, true crime and for the first time the People’s Choice award.

Aspiring crime writers have a choice of four workshops and can pitch to publishers and agents for the first time. Continue to walk the talk in Surry Hills and Hyde Park. There really is something for every crime lover.

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Program

1

DETAILS:

Celebrate Australian crime writing with a fight to the literary death (well, sort of)! The crime edition of  Literary Death Match — the worldwide sensation that’s taken place in 73 cities around the world, led by MC and ringmaster Adrian Todd Zuniga — brings together four crime writers to read from their latest books in four thrilling performances. Cassie McCullagh, Benjamin Stevenson, and Simon Marnie, our three judicious, jocular and jaunty judges in response in their own inimitable fashion. They’ll focus on literary merit, performance and “intangibles” (whatever that means) before picking two writers to go onto the finals where they’ll compete in a vaguely literary game to decide the ultimate winner. Who will take home the grand prize, Captivating Candice, Terrific Tim, Remarkable Rob or Amazing Anne? See it live to find out, and know that anything can happen. One thing’s for sure,  there will be (metaphorical) blood. 

 

DETAILS:

In this four-hour masterclass of crime fiction construction Candice Fox explores all aspects of structure, pace and plot. How do you hook readers? How do you know you have ‘enough’ for a novel? What do you do about a book that sags in the middle? 

With a decade of bestselling publishing experience and a practical, personalised approach to teaching, Candice sets students up to get their novel ideas down in a straightforward and effective manner. She has a student-led style and will drill down into the topics that those in the class feel they need most. 

This workshop is led by Candice Fox, of Australia’s most acclaimed crime writers. She has won three Ned Kelly Awards for Hades, Eden and The Chase. Her novels – Fall, Crimson Lake, Redemption Point and Gone by Midnight – were all shortlisted for the Ned Kelly Award and Crimson Lake has been adapted for television as Troppo. Candice’s most recent bestseller is Fire With Fire. She also collaborates with James Patterson and their first book Never Never set in the outback was an immediate international bestseller. Her books are published in fifteen languages

1

DETAILS:

Our opening address by four leading crime writers is inspired by Australia’s new national cultural policy that calls for A Place for Every Story and a Story for Every Place.  Chris Hammer’s crime novels are set in different fascinating locations in Australia; Ashley Kalagian Blunt explores the virtual space of the internet and how it affects the material world, Julie Janson’s crime novel brings a First Nations perspective to crimes which may go unnoticed and Michael Mohammed Ahmad explores the intersections between place, race and crime. Together they will discuss how crime and place matter to them.

2

DETAILS:

Regular Sydney news items report a bloody gang war with attacks and murders of high profile crime figures as well as innocent bystanders. What is happening? What is the carnage about? Mark Morri and Josh Hanrahan have documented this war and now tell the story of drugs, murders and revenge within the feuding gangs and clans in their book The Bloodiest Gang War. They talk to retired Detective Superintendent Deb Wallace who dealt with gang wars herself while in the NSW police force.

3

DETAILS:

The art world drips with crime as well as aesthetics. Think of thefts, fraud,  forgery, smuggling, misappropriation, looting in war, vandalism and let’s not forget connections to the underworld. There’s plenty of material for good crime fiction as seen in Alexandra Joel and John M Green’s book but Mark Holsworth’s book shows that truth can be stranger than fiction. They talk to Pamela James, an expert in art crime about art and life. 

4

DETAILS:

These debut crime writers don’t follow the police procedural rules but instead create unusual and sometimes accidental investigators who do things their own way. From Amanda Hampson’s tea lady with her own secret, to Sean Wilson’s teenage detectives trying to find out who killed a girl in a small Depression era rural town, you will laugh and cry. We’ll hear more about this trio.

5

DETAILS:

Each year, Writing NSW partners with writers’ festivals across the state to present ‘Inside Publishing’, a panel discussion that explores the inner workings of the publishing world. Join Penguin Random House commercial fiction publisher, Beverley Cousins, along with agent Jeanne Ryckmans, and author Benjamin Stevenson, as they reveal to Writing NSW CEO Sophie Groom how crime fiction publishing really works. From the story of how each insider broke into the industry, to their top tips on what not to do when trying to get published, this is a chance to get advice and insights from three of the genre’s top professionals.

DETAILS:

In this four-hour workshop we will review your current crime fiction cast. Do you have enough suspects, victims? Too many villains? Is your sidekick actually the hero? What about those two characters which could be one? 

Through class discussions, materials, and writing exercises we will interrogate your work in progress, or that new crime fiction story idea, and give you the tools to get the best out of your characters. We will discuss important character roles in crime fiction, their intersections with character archetypes, and examine crime fiction tropes. 

At the end of the workshop you will leave with greater clarity on your cast, and the ability to create stronger characters that work harder (and smarter) for your story.

This workshop is led by RWR (Rob) McDonald,an award-winning Kiwi author who lives in Melbourne. His debut novel The Nancys won Best first novel in the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards and was shortlisted for many other awards. The sequel Nancy Business was a finalist for Best Novel in the 2022 Ngaio Marsh awards. The short story Nancys Undercover features in Dark Deeds Downunder edited by Craig Sisterson. His first picture book Happy Millionth Birthday was published in September 2023. Rob is also co-founder of Queer Writes Sessions which promotes LGBTIQ+ and identifying writers. He teaches writing courses with Writing NSW and Faber Writing Academy and offers individual manuscript assessment services.

7

DETAILS:

Detectives come in all shapes and sizes.  Michael Brissenden himself a thriller writer talks to four writers with very different detectives. Julie Janson’s Aunty June did an online Cert III course in Investigative Services, while Lynette Lamb ran into trouble on her first day at the LAPD. Benjamin Stevenson’s detective is the writer of the book and also a suspect while Anne Buist’s psychiatrist investigator takes her sleepless baby to a resident sleep school where a murder takes place. There’s plenty to enjoy with these unusual sleuths.

6

DETAILS:

Naked City (Melbourne) and Crim City (Sydney) come face to face. Two crime reporting heavyweights, John Silvester (Melbourne) and Mark Morri (Sydney) meet at BAD. They know the underbelly of their cities better than anyone and they’re talking to Michael Duffy about a life of crime (writing about it!) and their latest books.

DETAILS:

Join historian Elliot Lindsay and writer Amanda Hampson on a walking tour of Surry Hills as he tells the history of the garment district and discusses the armed robberies, murders and dodgy deals that plagued the area until the 1990s and she talks about setting The Tea Ladies in Surry Hills. 

 

NOTE: Meet at Central Station Exit 4 (Elizabeth Street) and finishes at Surry Hills Light Rail.

1

DETAILS:

Crime doesn’t always have to be full of blood and gore. These three experienced writers are turning to crime for the first time. They bring humour (both light and dark), fun and writing knowhow to tell a really good story. It might be Stacey investigating her own death after a fatal car crash, PI Edwina Bristol (Ted) with her sidekick dog Miss Marple who looks into possible infidelity and discovers more than she imagines, or Violet Kelly from the upmarket brothel La Maison des Fleurs in 1930s Kings Cross faced with a kidnapped girl and an ancient curse which threaten her survival. Sit back and enjoy!

2

DETAILS:

In this new book in his prison series James Phelps explores Pentridge, Australia’s most notorious prison near Melbourne with two former inmates. Pentridge was closed in 1997 and now offers tours of a place which was described as the worst prison Australia has ever seen, a place of callous brutality. What was life really like behind the bluestone walls of Pentridge?

3

DETAILS:

From Dorian Gray to Tom Ripley, there was a time when if LGBTIQA+ characters appeared in crime stories at all, it was invariably as the first body, the villain, the ‘morally dubious’ suspect or the heavily coded ‘queer’. Recent decades have seen a more diverse cast in crime fiction created by LGBTIQA+ authors, but when gay American crime writer Rob Osler coined the term ‘Quozy Mystery’ in 2022, it heralded the possibility that commercial queer crime fiction has arrived. BAD Sydney hears from queer writers working during this tipping point, discussing how far representation has come, whether Australian publishers are leading or following reader demand, and to what extent crime fiction is a place to explore sexual and gender identities.

4

DETAILS:

What is the value of arts programs behind bars? The speakers on this panel have direct experience of arts in the prison system including the visual arts, music and writing. They tell us why these programs are important.

Aunty Barbara Nicholson is the Director of the Ngana Barangarai (Black Wallaby) project which has published Dreaming Inside poetry anthologies by First Nations inmates as well as a new anthology from women in Dyllwinia Correctional Centre. Murray Cook from Community Restorative Centre runs the Songbirds Prison Songwriting, Art and Theatre Program which has released prison songs and artworks and Damian Moss co-manages the Boom Gate art Gallery at Long Bay Correctional Complex.

5

DETAILS:

First nations writers mostly avoid the crime genre. What is that? Too much experience of real crime? Different cultural concepts of crime and punishment? Three First Nations writers, Tony Birch, Nardi Simpson and the creator of the investigator Auntie June explore possible reasons with Larissa Behrendt.

This session is being recorded for Speaking Out on ABC Radio National.

NOTE: This session is being recorded for Speaking Out on ABC Radio National.

6

DETAILS:

Crime podcasts are a global hit with their popularity spanning millennials to boomers. What is it that attracts so many listeners? We talk to the creators of four true crime podcasts and find out what drew them into podcasting, how they select their topics, their research and what the future holds and much more.

7

DETAILS:

What lies ahead for the crime novel in an era when humanity continues to be its own worst enemy?  Will we have more of the same: rural noir, cozy crime, police procedurals, legal, psychological and family thrillers?  Or will crime fiction change to embrace new threats and possibilities?  Is AI one of those threats? Three established and new writers talk about where the genre might be headed and their own future horizons under the knowledgeable guidance of crime fiction specialist Sue Turnbull.

8

DETAILS:

The western suburbs of Sydney have often been coloured by stories of crime, poverty and violence. But is the most culturally diverse region in Australia really just a melting pot of drug-dealings, drive-by shootings and terrorist conspiracies? Or is there more to this complex and eclectic corner of our nation? Award-winning author Dr Michael Mohammed Ahmad speaks with two of Western Sydney’s hottest new literary voices – Winnie Dunn and this year’s Miles Franklin Award winner, Shankari Chandran. Drawing from their Lebanese, Tongan and Sri Lankan backgrounds, this is one discussion you don’t want to miss!

DETAILS:

Join us for the now traditional and slightly raucous Crime Trivia Quiz night with drinks and nibbles. Then comes the announcement of the 2023 Danger Awards and a brief chat with the winners. This year there will be three – one  for crime fiction, one for true crime and the inaugural People’s Choice Award. Don’t miss it.

VOTE IN THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARDS →

 

DETAILS:

IF you have a completed manuscript or are well advanced on your book, BAD offers you the opportunity to talk to top fiction publisher Beverley Cousins from Penguin Random House for a short pitch session (5 minutes). If you’re at a very early stage of writing this is not for you. A workshop may a better way to start. 

Not many slots are available. If you want to be considered, please send in an expression of interest to catherine@badsydney.com with a book outline and a pdf of your manuscript by 15 October at the latest.  We will let you know if you’ve been one of the lucky ones. If so you can then book and pay to secure your spot (fee $20). You will be sent more information to prepare your pitch and maximise your chances of success.

PITCH SESSIONS ARE NOW CLOSED.

DETAILS:

IF you have a completed manuscript or are well advanced on your book, BAD offers you the opportunity to talk to literary agent Gaby Naher for a short pitch session (5 minutes). If you’re at a very early stage of writing this is not for you. A workshop may a better way to start. 

Not many slots are available. If you want to be considered, please send in an expression of interest to catherine@badsydney.com with a book outline and a pdf of your manuscript by 15 October at the latest.  We will let you know if you’ve been one of the lucky ones. If so you can then book and pay to secure your spot (fee $20). You will be sent more information to prepare your pitch and maximise your chances of success. 

PITCH SESSIONS ARE NOW CLOSED.

1

DETAILS:

Three people who have been missing for years. Three women recovering from painful events in their own lives stumble on the stories and can’t let them go. But it can be dangerous to dig up the past. What attracted these three debut writers to the mystery of the missing?

2

DETAILS:

The developments in DNA analysis, combined with genealogy and old-fashioned detective work, means that unidentified remains can now more easily be linked to missing people, providing finality for the families, and in cold case crimes bringing a perpetrator like Joseph DeAngelo – the Golden State Killer – to justice over three decades after his crimes. Associate Professor Jodie Ward established the AFP National DNA Program for Unidentified and Missing Persons as part of her role at the AFP, for the identification of human remains. She talks with Associate Professor Xanthé Mallett, forensic anthropologist, criminologist and author, who also specialises in the identification of people using their DNA.

3

DETAILS:

Take two but in which direction to go? Continue with the same characters if they haven’t all been killed off or create new ones? Four writers talk about their second books, which path they took and why.

4

DETAILS:

The real story of the Frontier Wars and massacres of Indigenous people following the arrival of colonists in 1788 is only beginning to be told. Historians and writers Kate Auty, Tony Birch, Stephen Gapps and David Marr discuss the wars and massacres which took place throughout the continent, starting from two new books –  Kate Auty’s O’Leary of the Underworld and David Marr’s Killing for Country.

DETAILS:

Former detective Craig Semple joined the New South Wales Police Force at 18 until he retired suffering from PTSD many years later. Gary Jubelin has interviewed him for the I catch killers podcast  but there is much more to say. In this live show, Gary and Craig go further into Craig’s story of extreme life events and how human endurance and belief can lead to the triumph of good over evil.

 

NOTE: THIS SESSION WILL BE RECORDED AND BROADCAST ON THE I CATCH KILLERS PODCAST HOSTED BY GARY JUBELIN

5

DETAILS:

You’ve been accused of a serious crime. What happens now? How does the criminal justice system work?  You might be innocent or you might be guilty but few sounds can be more terrifying than the sound a cell door locking behind you for the first time. How did you get there? This session will take you through the justice system from arrest to court, to remand, to a trial and to innocence and freedom or conviction and perhaps prison- and give an insight into the challenges in defending yourself with the resources of the state aimed at you.

6

DETAILS:

‘Don’t kill the dog’ may be the unwritten but oft broken rule of crime fiction, but are there other limits that writers face? Are there topics to be avoided? When is too much violence in a genre that deals with the problem of violence more than enough? What personal boundaries do writers set for themselves? Sue Turnbull travels to the outer limits with three crime writers in order to discover just how far they will go in the pursuit of their craft.

7

DETAILS:

What makes Kiwi crime fiction from across the ditch different from Australian crime fiction? Is it the setting? But what if the book is not set in Aotearoa New Zealand but in New York? Is it where the author lives? But what if they live in Melbourne? Join award-winning Kiwi crime writers, Jacqueline Bublitz, Nikki Crutchley, Chris Stuart and Fiona Sussman in conversation with R.W.R. McDonald, discussing all things Aotearoa New Zealand crime fiction, what it means to be a Kiwi crime writer, and the current state of the market.

8

DETAILS:

The Special Commission of Inquiry into LGBTIQ Hate Crimes

From the late 1970s to the early 1990s more than 80 men died or disappeared in what looked like an epidemic of gay hate crimes. Many of these were dismissed by the NSW Police as suicide or misadventure and investigations were often cursory at best. The Special Commission of Inquiry into LGBTIQ hate crimes, was set up to investigate unsolved suspected hate crime deaths of LGBTIQ people in NSW between 1970 and 2010. It is first of its kind worldwide. After a year of investigation and public hearings the Commission has uncovered serious flaws in the way some of these cases were handled, new evidence has been revealed  and delivered a dose of reality on the state of cold case murder investigations in NSW. Duncan McNab (author of Getting Away with Murder), magistrate Jacqueline Milledge, lawyer Nicholas Stewart and journalist Michael Burge talk about the Inquiry and what it has achieved.

 

DETAILS:

Since the 1790s, Sydney’s Hyde Park has been a favourite place for locals and visitors alike to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy a sunny corner. However, by night, the park has been just as popular with those living on society’s fringe. Join historian Elliot Lindsay with academic and writer Dennis Altman on a walking tour of Hyde Park to discover the larrikins, razor gangsters, sex workers, boys in drag, preachers, polemics and cold-blooded killers that lurked in the park after dark for nearly 200 years.

NOTE: Meet at the State Library bookshop at 3.30.

DETAILS:

 The State Library has become a backdrop for murder. There is a body bag in the foyer of the Mitchell Library.  Who has died and who is the murderer? An active crime scene full of evidence is ready for investigation in a race against time. You don’t have long to solve the mystery.  Participants work in teams to solve the case. Each team needs to examine all the evidence, sift through garbage (gloves provided!), test for DNA, do fingerprinting, interview witnesses, then get together over a glass of wine to decide who they think is the culprit before all is revealed.  Put all your crime reading and watching to good use to see if you can find the guilty party.  

DETAILS:

IF you have a completed manuscript or are well advanced on your book, BAD offers you the opportunity to talk to top fiction publisher Anna Valdinger from Harper Collins for a short pitch session (5 minutes). If you’re at a very early stage of writing this is not for you. A workshop may a better way to start. 

Not many slots are available. If you want to be considered, please send in an expression of interest to catherine@badsydney.com with a book outline and a pdf of your manuscript by 15 October at the latest.  We will let you know if you’ve been one of the lucky ones. If so you can then book and pay to secure your spot (fee $20). You will be sent more information to prepare your pitch and maximise your chances of success.

PITCH SESSIONS ARE NOW CLOSED.

DETAILS:

IF you have a completed manuscript or are well advanced on your book, BAD offers you the opportunity to talk to literary agent Daniel Pilkington for a short pitch session (5 minutes). If you’re at a very early stage of writing this is not for you. A workshop may a better way to start. 

Not many slots are available. If you want to be considered, please send in an expression of interest to catherine@badsydney.com with a book outline and a pdf of your manuscript by 15 October at the latest.  We will let you know if you’ve been one of the lucky ones. If so you can then book and pay to secure your spot (fee $20). You will be sent more information to prepare your pitch and maximise your chances of success.

PITCH SESSIONS ARE NOW CLOSED.

1

DETAILS:

What happens when a system of laws is imposed on existing but very different systems for making sure justice is done but those existing structures are not taken into account, as has happened throughout Australia? What are the consequences for First Nations peoples? Can two systems work side by side? Larissa Behrendt, herself a lawyer discusses this with lawyers Karen Isles, Kirsten Gray and with Tony Birch.

This session is being recorded for Speaking Out on ABC Radio National.

NOTE: This session is being recorded for Speaking Out on ABC Radio National.

2

DETAILS:

Not the country or the outback, not the city or the suburbs but a small town. Why are small towns – some real, some imaginary – growth areas as settings of crime fiction? The three debut writers on this panel set their work in small towns. Rhys Gard chose Mudgee and its surroundings, Nikki Mottram sets her book in Crows Nest near Towoomba and Darcy Tindale chooses Muswellbrook.  They talk about how and why.

3

DETAILS:

If you thought that closed circle mysteries had died with Agatha Christie, think again. They will never die although plenty of people do in the books in this session. Benjamin Stevenson’s new Everyone on this Train is a Suspect has several dead bodies on a literary festival train, Michael Trant’s Gabe Ahern in No Trace is keeping the lowest of profiles on a remote cattle property when death strikes but no one can escape because of a flood and Michelle Prak’s debut thriller The Rush has mother and baby in an isolated pub, bikies and backpackers trapped by rain.  What is the attraction of this sub-genre of crime fiction? Why will it live forever? Felix Shannon of Flex and Herds investigates in the closed Metcalfe Auditorium of the State Library. Mark your exits…

4

DETAILS:

What does it feel like to be stalked? Is it always physical or can it be online as well? What are the effects on the person who is stalked? Does it escalate and what can it lead to? Journalist Nicole Madigan is a victim-survivor of stalking and has researched the subject in depth. Ashley Kalagian Blunt’s psychological thriller Dark Mode explores online stalking and harassment and the terrors of the dark web. They are in conversation with Dr Tim Watson-Munro.

5

DETAILS:

Tony Birch is one of Australia’s best storytellers. His new book explores the lives of women and children, justice and injustice through the eyes of a boy. Where can Joe’s Aunty Oona get help when women’s pleas for assistance are met with silence? And have things changed today?

This session is being recorded for Speaking Out on ABC Radio National.

NOTE: This session is being recorded for Speaking Out on ABC Radio National.

6

DETAILS:

Crime writers make up imaginary cops but what happens when a real cop comes face to face with a fictional creation? Former Detective Chief Inspector Gary Jubelin who has investigated more than one real murder talks to Matthew Spencer about Detective Sergeant Rose Riley and Detective Inspector Steve O’Neil in Matthew’s book Black River.  How close to real cops are they? What about their relationship with journalist Adam Bowman? Find out more about truth vs fiction.

7

DETAILS:

Experience three nailbiting stories in different settings but with equal tension. Michelle Prak’s The Rush is a closed circle thriller where the weather closes in on a group in an isolated location, but the rain is not the only threat. In Fire with Fire Candice Fox’s scenario has desperate parents holding the LAPD to ransom by destroying DNA samples, police officers equally desperate not to lose their only chances to convict criminals and a missing girl.  In Gabriel Bergmoser’s menacing and nerve-racking psychological thriller, a woman on the run is hiding in an isolated ski lodge in the off season – but who is the man who claims to be an innocent writer?     Tim Ayliffe, himself a successful thriller writer talks to them about how they do it.

8

DETAILS:

Join novelists  Ben Hobson and Felicity McLean, and historian Meg Foster as they share how the long legacy of Colonial Australia’s bushrangers and goldfields have inspired their crime writing as they talk to Andy Muir.

DETAILS:

IF you have a completed manuscript or are well advanced on your book, BAD offers you the opportunity to talk to top non-fiction publisher (TBC) for a short pitch session (5 minutes). If you’re at a very early stage of writing this is not for you. A workshop may a better way to start. 

Not many slots are available. If you want to be considered, please send in an expression of interest to catherine@badsydney.com with a book outline and a pdf of your manuscript by 15 October at the latest.  We will let you know if you’ve been one of the lucky ones. If so you can then book and pay to secure your spot (fee $20). You will be sent more information to prepare your pitch and maximise your chances of success.

PITCH SESSIONS ARE NOW CLOSED.

DETAILS:

IF you have a completed manuscript or are well advanced on your book, BAD offers you the opportunity to talk to literary agent Samuel Bernard for a short pitch session (5 minutes). If you’re at a very early stage of writing this is not for you. A workshop may a better way to start. 

Not many slots are available. If you want to be considered, please send in an expression of interest to catherine@badsydney.com with a book outline and a pdf of your manuscript by 15 October at the latest.  We will let you know if you’ve been one of the lucky ones. If so you can then book and pay to secure your spot (fee $20). You will be sent more information to prepare your pitch and maximise your chances of success.

PITCH SESSIONS ARE NOW CLOSED.

DETAILS:

In this four-hour masterclass of crime fiction construction Candice Fox explores all aspects of structure, pace and plot. How do you hook readers? How do you know you have ‘enough’ for a novel? What do you do about a book that sags in the middle? 

With a decade of bestselling publishing experience and a practical, personalised approach to teaching, Candice sets students up to get their novel ideas down in a straightforward and effective manner. She has a student-led style and will drill down into the topics that those in the class feel they need most. 

This workshop is led by Candice Fox, of Australia’s most acclaimed crime writers. She has won three Ned Kelly Awards for Hades, Eden and The Chase. Her novels – Fall, Crimson Lake, Redemption Point and Gone by Midnight – were all shortlisted for the Ned Kelly Award and Crimson Lake has been adapted for television as Troppo. Candice’s most recent bestseller is Fire With Fire. She also collaborates with James Patterson and their first book Never Never set in the outback was an immediate international bestseller. Her books are published in fifteen languages