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Margie Orford

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Archive for the ‘International’ Category

Meeting up with the Boozy, Bloodthirsty Sisters of Crime Fiction in Melbourne

Australia does exist. Every single South African was rudely reminded of that fact last Sunday when the Springboks were pipped (criminally) to the post by the Australians in the rugby world cup. I was forced to watch the slaughter of dreams from a bar in Melbourne. It did not inspire the most neighbourly thoughts in me, I have to confess.

The reason for this sporting torture is that I’ve been at SheKilda in Melbourne, a crime writers’ festival hosted by the Sisters in Crime, a bloodthirsty group of Australian women who seem to have an infinite capacity for gore, alcohol and crime fiction.

The endless flight to this remote part of the globe has introduced me to a whole new world. Australia, like Sweden and Norway, is an astoundingly law abiding country by my rather jaded standards. Drivers wear their seatbelts, the stop at red lights, and they don’t seem to kill each other all that much. There was a mini-spate of mob killings in Melbourne recently, but that seems more like a service to humanity than a crime. And a great saving for the taxpayer too.

There would appear to be an inverse proportion of crime writers in a country to the numbers of actual crimes committed. Consequently, South Africa, with its spectacular display of crime has produced a handful of crime novelists, while Australia is bursting at the seams with them. Perhaps an increase in the number of crime novels in South Africa will bring our crime stats down. I find it difficult to commit crimes while typing. However, a crime reduction in South Africa seems as unlikely as a sunny day in Sweden.


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