Acclaimed author, journalist and screenwriter Helen Garner has won the 2015 Ned Kelly Award for Australia’s Best True Crime book for ‘This House of Grief – the Story of a Murder Trial’.

It is the second Ned Kelly Award for Garner, who picked up her previous award ten years ago with ‘Joe Cinque’s Consolation’ – another account of a murder that involved revenge, jealousy and betrayal.

The 20th anniversary of The Ned Kelly Awards was celebrated in Melbourne last night at a star-studded gathering of past winners and international crime-writing guests of honour, including S.J. Watson whose thriller ‘Before I Go To Sleep’ became an international phenomenon both as a book and film.

Helen Garner won the non-fiction category for her first-hand account of the investigation and trial of Robert Farquharson, who on Father’s Day 2005 drove his car into a dam in country Victoria, killing his three sons. Judges described it as compelling book in which Garner’s ‘observations about human nature, family, love and hate are always profound.’

Sydney-based writer Candice Fox shrugged away any doubts about ‘second novel syndrome’ by winning the Ned Kelly for Best Australian Crime Fiction with her novel ‘Eden’. Her debut ‘Hades’ won last year’s Ned Kelly for Best First Fiction.

Both novels follow the fortunes of two damaged cops – Frank Bennett and Eden Archer – who were described by judges as ‘socially remote and emotionally wrought’ as they ‘sometimes exceed the law in order to achieve justice.’

This year’s winner of the Ned Kelly for Best First Fiction was Jock Serong for his novel ‘Quota’. The former lawyer from Port Fairy in Victoria was described by judges as ‘a genuine class act’ whose characters, setting and plot make for ‘compelling reading.’

The Ned Kelly Awards are Australia’s oldest and most prestigious prizes for crime fiction and true crime writing. First established in 1995, the list of previous winners includes, Peter Temple, Shane Maloney, Gabrielle Lord, Garry Disher and Kerry Greenwood.

You can read more about the awards at the ACWA website.

And on a purely personal note - managed to read the fiction shortlist this year - now to get the True Crime under control :)



  • Helen Garner, This House of Grief: The Story of a Murder Trial
  • Amy Dale, The Fall
  • Debi Marshall, The Family Court Murders
  • Kate McClymont and Linton Besser, He Who Must Be Obeid
  • David Murray, The Murder of Allison Baden-Clay
  • Liam Pieper, The Feel-Good Hit of the Year


  • Candice Fox, Eden
  • Peter Docker, Sweet One
  • Sulari Gentill, A Murder Unmentioned
  • Barry Maitland, Crucifixion Creek
  • Adrian McKinty, Gun Street Girl
  • Malla Nunn, Present Darkness


  • Jock Serong, Quota
  • Nigel Bartlett, King of the Road
  • Anna George, What Came Before
  • Nicholas J Johnson, Chasing the Ace


  • Andrea Gillum (VIC), Short Term People
  • Aoife Clifford (VIC), A Watched Pot
  • Darcy-Lee Tindale (NSW), Roux's Sister
  • Grace Heyer (NSW), Sweetie
  • Stephen Gray (VIC), Prisoner's Dilemma
  • Adriane Howell (VIC), Daddy Played the Trumpet


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