Featured Member – Kathy Stewart
Turning to Crime
Kathleen Stewart was born in East London; not in Britain, but South Africa. It’s a town where colonial reference to the ‘old country’ is still evidenced by street names such as Oxbridge Road and Hereford Road. There at the age of eight she wrote her first novel, ‘Shadow’, which was about a horse. During her adult years she produced several more.
She and her family migrated to Australia and the Gold Coast in 2000, where after courses in editing and proofreading and a spell in a small publishing house she started her own business, Authors’ Ally, where more details are available than are practicable here.
But possibly the personal writerly achievement that has delighted her most to this day was her recent short and long listing in the prestigious British Crime Writer awards. In her own words:
I first heard about the Debut Dagger competition via an email newsletter from the Queensland Writers’ Centre. I entered two novels and was delighted when I was told that Race Against Time had been longlisted and The Chameleon Factor shortlisted.
I had a wonderful time in the UK, where I met and listened to some famous and interesting authors. Amongst them were Ian Rankin and Val McDermid, as well as Australia’s own Michael Robotham, and such famous American writers as Karin Slaughter, Jeff Lindsay and Jeffery Deaver.
The panel discussions were lively and heated at times, but all were informative and entertaining. I think what struck me most was how funny and well-spoken each of the featured authors was. I believe that both Christopher Brookmyre and Mark Billingham are stand-up comics in their other lives.
The award ceremony was held in the beautiful old ornate Crown Hotel in Harrogate, where writers and guests could mingle in the dining room or in the foyer or pub area between sessions. The main events were held in a special conference room that could hold over 500 people and it was frequently packed to capacity.
Included in the festivities were some special events, such as a welcome dinner preceding the Crime Novel of the Year Award, won by RJ Ellory, and a ‘Come Dine With Me’ dinner where guests were assigned an author who would help them solve a crime.
The trip was a great success, and I brought back with me exactly what I wanted: cherished memories of an exciting time, loads of books by famous and aspiring crime writers, and a host of valuable friendships formed with fellow writers over the time we were there. Meeting up with and talking to my fellow Debut Dagger nominees was particularly rewarding.
We wish her luck in future Daggers.