The idea for a national award for short stories, written by Australian women and featuring a strong female protagonist, was cooked up over a few glasses of wine in 1994 at a convenors’ meeting in St Kilda, Victoria. The purpose was to support and unearth new talent.
This has been achieved in spades.
In the 23 years to 2016, 3084 stories have been entered with 22 Scarlet Stiletto Award winners – including category winners – going on to have novels published: Cate Kennedy, Tara Moss, Annie Hauxwell, Angela Savage, Josephine Pennicott, Ellie Marney, Sarah Evans, Inga Simpson, Alex Palmer, Liz Filleul, Margaret Bevege, Patricia Bernard, Bronwen Blake, Jo McGahey, Cheryl Jorgensen, Kylie Fox, Simmone Howell, Emilie Collyer, Sandi Wallace, Aoife Clifford, Amanda Wrangles and Anna Snoekstra.
Three collections of winning stories have been published by Clan Destine Press: Scarlet Stiletto: The First Cut, Scarlet Stiletto: The Second Cut and Scarlet Stiletto Short Stories: 2013 (ebook).
The winners – from all walks of life – have been librarians, editors, teachers, union officials, journalists, public servants, psychologists, investigators, exercise instructors, mothers and retirees, even a few full-time writers. Amazingly, five women have won the First Prize (and Scarlet Stiletto trophy) twice.
2017 – 24th Scarlet Stiletto Awards
$8600 is on offer in prize money. Closing date is 31 August. Entry fee is $20 / $15 Sisters in Crime members. Maximum length is 5000 words. Winners will be announced at the Scarlet Stiletto Awards ceremony to be held in late November at a Melbourne venue.
More information at the Scarlet Stiletto Awards website.