Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Inaugural Ngaio Marsh Award Winner Announced

There was a large and enthusiastic audience present in Christchurch last evening for the presentation of the inaugural Ngaio March Award for New Zealand Crime Fiction. The winner was the pseudonymous Alix Bosco who headed off the other short-listed finalists Vanda Symon and Neil Cross.

I think it is fair to say there was something of an air of disppointment with the announcement as because of "her" insistence of annonymity Bosco was not present to receive the handsome trophy and winner's cheque which were accepted on her behalf by Louise Crisp, publisher Penguin's Christchurch representative.
Here is what Louise had to say on accepting the award:

Hello, I’m Louise Crisp, Penguin’s sales rep in the South Island. It’s a great honour to represent Alix Bosco here tonight and to accept this award on her behalf. I’d also like to offer an apology for the absence of Penguin’s publisher Geoff Walker tonight. Geoff’s unable to be here but sends his very best wishes.

As you all know, Alix Bosco is actually a pseudonym. This is not this writer’s real name – although we did discuss with her whether her second recent book, or perhaps tonight, were good opportunities to ‘come out’. But she has a very specific reason for wanting to remain anonymous, and feels that it’s still too soon to declare herself.
But she did ask us to convey her gratitude to the judges for tonight’s award – and particularly to Craig Sisterson, for the magnificent job he is doing personally in promoting locally written crime fiction.
She also asked me to congratulate Vanda Symon, also a Penguin author, and Neil Cross, the other two finalists tonight.

All that we’ve been saying so far, after two novels, is that Alix is ‘a successful writer in other media’. And there, I’m afraid, despite the best endeavours of bloggers such as Graham Beattie, it must be left to rest.

In a recent email interview with Guy Somerset of the Listener, Alix talked about wanting to stay anonymous so that her crime fiction could make their own way in the world free of any expectations created by notions of what she should be writing. It’s her decision, and as her publishers, we’re right behind her – despite the difficulties it engenders for us in promoting her work.
On behalf of Alix Bosco, thank you very much for this wonderful award. It’s going to give me much pleasure now to text her with the news.

For more on Bosco and "her" annonymity go here.

Prior to the announcement the audience had been treated to a most entertaining panel discussion well led by Craig Sisterson, the Ngaio Marsh Award is his brainchild, and featuring the two shortlisted authors who were present, Vanda Symon and Neil Cross, along with local crime writer Paul Cleave. Ranging across a wide field of topics including their favouite books as children, Stephen King, how they became writers, the difficulty of first getting published, the value of literary agents, writing in the first and third persons and their next project they frequently had the audience laughing out loud. A grand event.

Congratulations to organisers the Christchurch Writers Festival, to Craig Sisterson, to the winner of course, and to Penguin Books who published all three shortlisted titles, two in New Zealand and ther other in the UK.
This event was to have orginally been held as part of the Christchurch Writers Festival in September which was cancelled because of the major earthquake that struck the city. Because Christchurch was the home of Dame Ngaio Marsh it is planned to hold the presentation here each year.
It was also announced last evening that the cancelled Writers Festival has been rescheduled for May 2011 and The Bookman has been promised details shortly. Watch this space.

For more on the mystery of Alix Bosco - Joan Druett's blog.

1 comment:

Maggie-at-the Bay said...

Does anyone have any clue who Alix Bosco is? It might take a sleuth to find another sleuth. I know that we (one of my book groups) often speculate on who Alice Tawhai might be (a terrific short story writer who remains anonymous). It's quite impressive really in direct contrast to the current celebrity status given to many writers nowadays. I'm a big fan of Neil Cross and admire Vanda Symon's achievements hugely.