2023 Ned Kelly Australian crime writing award winners

1 September 2023

Exiles by Jane Harper bookcover

Book cover of Exiles, written by Jane Harper.

Exiles by Melbourne based Australian author Jane Harper, published by Pan Macmillan Australia, has been named winner in the best crime fiction category of the 2023 Ned Kelly Awards for Australian crime writing. Written in 2022, Exiles tells the story of an investigation into the disappearance of a woman from a small community in South Australia:

At a busy festival site on a warm spring night, a baby lies alone in her pram, her mother having vanished into the crowds.

A year on, Kim Gillespie’s absence casts a long shadow as her friends and loved ones gather deep in the heart of South Australian wine country to welcome a new addition to the family.

Aaron Falk, federal investigator, is joining the celebrations. But as he soaks up life in the lush valley, he begins to suspect this tight-knit group may be more fractured than it seems. As hidden truths slowly emerge, Falk faces the darkest of questions.

In other award categories Wake, by Shelley Burr won in the Best Debut crime fiction, Betrayed, by Sandi Logan won in Best True Crime, while The Lemon Man, by Dublin based Irish writer Keith Bruton, won the Best International Crime prize.

Named for one of Australia’s best known outlaws, the 2023 Ned Kelly Awards attracted over one hundred and sixty entries, an increase over last year.

Karina Kilmore, chair of the Australian Crime Writers Association which presents the awards, stressed the importance of the role of literary prizes in supporting authors, particularly in light of the threat artificial intelligence technologies (AI) pose. Kilmore said as things stand, AI will do away with the human elements of creativity in all forms of story-telling.


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