Sunday, September 7, 2014

Ned Kelly

Much to my amazement and delight my novel In The Morning I'll Be Gone has won the 2014 Ned Kelly Award. The award was announced at the Brisbane Writers Festival after a great evening hosted by the BWF and the Australian Crime Writers Association. I gave a speech but I have no idea what I said. (I have a vague recollection of doing a John Connolly impersonation and people laughing.) But I was happy. Many thanks to the Ned Kelly judges, to ACWA, to Michael Robotham who hosted the whole thing and to my British, Aussie and American publishers for steadfastly supporting me when nobody outside my immediate family (and not even many of them if I'm honest) was buying my books. Thank you Serpents Tail, Allen & Unwin, Seventh Street Books and Blackstone Audio who all had faith in me even though the numbers were telling a different story...
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The Ned Kelly is definitely the coolest of all the crime fiction awards and if you think about it, its only the one that's given for an entire continent. I mean how badass is that? Coincidentally Sidney Nolan who painted the iconic image of Ned Kelly below went to St Kilda Primary School where both my daughters went. Last night was my daughter Sophie's school concert and Sidney Nolan was one of the characters in the story and when the school time travellers meet him (dont ask) he's in right in the middle of painting his famous series of Ned Kelly pictures. 
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If you haven't read In The Morning I'll Be Gone, I reckon its a pretty good place to start if you're new to me and my books. Its set in Northern Ireland in 1984 but it isn't all depressing and everything. Parts of it are funny. And there's a locked room mystery. And Michael Forsythe makes an appearance. And Duffy burns down a drug den. Oh, and the IRA blow up Thatcher at the end. Spoiler alert. This is what the judges said about the book: “In his use of humour with the grim realities of Belfast in 1984, coupled with a wonderfully constructed locked room mystery, McKinty has produced something really quite extraordinary. There’s a fine line between social commentary and compelling mystery and not many writers, crime or literary, can do both.”