Best First Fiction:
• Prime Cut, by Alan Carter (Fremantle Press)
• Line of Sight, by David Whish-Wilson (Penguin)
• The Old School, by P.M. Newton (Penguin)
• The Half-Child, by Angela Savage (Text Publishing)
• The Diggers Rest Hotel, by Geoffrey McGeachin (Penguin)
• Bereft, by Chris Womersley (Scribe Publishing)
S.D. Harvey Short Story:
• “Southern Hemisphere Blues,” by Robert Goodman
• “Hemisphere Travel Guides: Las Vegas for Vegans,” by A.S. Patric
• Abandoned: The Sad Death of Dianne Brimble, by Geesche Jacobson (Allen & Unwin)
• Wasted, by Ross Honeywill (Penguin)
• Honeymoon Dive, by Lindsay Simpson and Jennifer Cooke (Macmillan)
While these finalists pat themselves on the back, there’s a bit of controversy brewing over the choices, especially in the category of Best (Crime) Fiction. “Given there were 23 novels nominated for the 2011 Ned Kelly for Best Fiction,” writes New Zealand blogger Craig Sisterson, “there were always going to be plenty of good books and great authors that missed out on the short-list. But I imagine few would have predicted that not a single one of the ‘big names’ like Peter Corris, Kathryn Fox, Leah Giarratano, Kerry Greenwood, Katherine Howell, Adrian Hyland, Colleen McCulloch, and Malla Nunn would make it. I’m surprised--especially given the great things I’ve heard about Gunshot Road by Hyland, in particular.”
Undoubtedly, such disagreements will fuel the conversation when the Ned Kelly Awards are presented on Wednesday, August 31, as part of Australia’s Melbourne Writers’ Festival.
The longlist of this year’s contenders is here.