Has that got your attention? If it has, I’m sorry if you think I’m going to talk about high society fund-raising parties. I’m afraid it’s a bit more mundane than that … but interesting I hope.
I have in fact written about the Stilettos before, the Scarlet Stiletto Awards to be exact. To recap, they are Sisters in Crime Australia’s annual awards for best short crime and mystery stories by women writers. This year they are offering a record $11,910 in prizes this year. As Carmel Shute, secretary of Sisters in Crime, says
“Crime does pay – at least on the page. And writing is a lot safer than holding up your local service station, especially during a pandemic.”
Fifteen awards are offered:
- Swinburne University Award, 1st Prize: $1500
- Simon & Schuster Award, 2nd Prize: $1000
- Sun Bookshop & Wild Dingo Award, 3rd Prize: $600
- Affirm Press Award for Best Young Writer (under 19): $500
- Monash University Award for Best Emerging Writer (19-25): $500
- Melbourne Athenaeum Library ‘Body in the Library’ Award: $1250 (plus $750 for runner-up)
- Booktopia Publisher Services Award for Best Environmental Mystery: $750
- Clan Destine Press Award for Best Cross-genre Story: $750
- Every Cloud Award for Best Mystery with History Story: $750
- Kerry Greenwood Award for Best Malice Domestic Story: $750
- Viliama Grakalic Art and Crime Award: $750
- Writers Victoria Crime and Punishment Award for the Story with the Most Satisfying Retribution: $660 (Studio Residency, Old Melbourne Gaol)
- HQ Fiction Award for Best Thriller: $500
- ScriptWorks Award for a Great Film Idea: $500
- Liz Navratil Award for Best Story with a Disabled Protagonist Award: $400
There’s a lot of opportunity here, as you can see, for different sorts of stories – and past winners have included writers I’ve reviewed or mentioned here, like Angela Savage. The monetary amount isn’t huge, but it’s something, and, as Shute says:
Since the awards began 28 years ago, 3896 stories have been entered and 30 winners – including winners of the Shoe and category winners – have gone on to have books published.
The closing date for entering this year’s awards is 31 August, 2021. There is an entry fee of $25 (less for Sisters in Crime members), and stories must be 5000 words or less. More information and the entry form can be found at Sisters in Crime.
From the above list of awards, you’ve probably guessed the inspiration for the second part of this post – the sponsors. Most awards – literary or otherwise – are sponsored. Some, like the Prime Minister’s and various Premier’s literary awards, are funded by governments, but many are offered by individuals and organisations. The Miles Franklin Literary Award, the Barbara Jefferis Award and the Kibble Literary Awards, are all funded by bequests which identified the purpose of the award. Other awards or prizes are funded by a range of people and organisations, including philanthropic people and foundations, and like organisations (such as publishers and bookshops).
But, keeping awards funded is a challenge, and something I have planned to write more broadly on for some time. I will still do that. However, Sisters in Crime provided a good introduction to the subject in their promotion of this year’s award, because they say that only one sponsor pulled their funding “despite these financially fraught times” and “two new supporters” came on. Excitingly for them, several sponsors not only continued their awards but increased the amount.
Watch for a future Monday Musings on this and related issues – but no promises when!
Meanwhile, any thoughts?