This year the Great New Zealand Crime Debate was convened to debate the moot “Crime Doesn’t Pay”. On the affirmative team were lawyer Marcus Elliott, crime writer Paul Cleave and US novelist Meg Wolitzer. On the negative team were Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel, journalist Martin van Beynen and satirist Steve Braunias. The debate was MC’d by writer Joe Bennett.
It was a highly enjoyable night of silly fun. The emphasis was on jokes rather than arguments; name-calling rather than logic. All participants spoke well, although no one came close to Bennett in terms of sheer showmanship. A grand night was had by all.
After the debate was the presentation of the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel. The finalists were Joe Victim by Paul Cleave (Penguin), Frederick’s Coat by Alan Duff (Random House), My Brother’s Keeper by Donna Malane (HarperCollins) and Where the Dead Men Go by Liam McIlvanney (Faber).
And the winner is! Where the Dead Men Go by Scottish Kiwi Liam McIlvanney. Although he has only lived in NZ for few years (and still has a very strong Scottish accent), McIlvanney says he is proud to be a New Zealander and loves seeing his books in the NZ section of bookshops. Resident in Dunedin, he told me that his favourite bookshops are UBS Otago, Scribes, and Unity Books Wellington.
Lots more WORD festival fun to come. Bring it on!
Reported by Elizabeth Heritage, Freelance Writer and Publisher