Into the Void: Our Interview with Ngaio Marsh Finalist Christina O’Reilly

Continuing our series on this year’s Ngaio Marsh Awards shortlist we are delighted to present a video piece from Christina O’Reilly author of Into the Void.

As her accent still shows Christina grew up in England and emigrated to NZ at the age of twelve.  As well as a writer, Christina is a freelance copy editor and proof reader and has had her short stories published in several anthologies.

Christina had written several previous novels   before being longlisted for the 2019 Michael Gifkins memorial prize which gave her the confidence to publish this novel.

Into the void introduces us to DSS John (Archie) Baldrick and DC Ben Travers. The plot revolves round the disappearance of rural banker Richard Harper his disappearance possess many questions is he really dead? or has he been abducted and tortured?   Eventually it all becomes a race against time as the case descends into a mire of murder, violence and obsession.

One review described the book in the following way    “O’Reilly’s characters are all strong, believable people with equally believable domestic lives and troubles. It’s nicely flavoured with New Zealandness without feeing contrived and carries a story which would work in any international setting”.

We want to extend our biggest thank you to Christina for her time and insightful video. And we wish her and her fellow shortlisted author’s good luck in the final awards ceremony.

The finalists will be celebrated, and the winners announced, as part of a special event at this year’s WORD Christchurch Festival, held from 29 October to 1 November… Enjoy.

Below are some of the books that influenced Christina and were mentioned in her interview.


The babes in the wood : a Chief Inspector Wexford mystery / Rendell, Ruth
“With floods threatening both the town of Kingsmarkham and his own home and no end to the rain in sight, Chief Inspector Wexford already has his hands full when he learns that two local teenagers have gone missing along with their sitter, Joanna Troy. Their hysterical mother is convinced that all three have drowned, and as the hours stretch into days Wexford suspects a case of kidnapping, perhaps connected with an unusual sect called the Church of the Good Gospel. But when the sitter’s smashed-up car is found at the bottom of a local quarry-occupied by a battered corpse-the investigation takes on a very different hue. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover End in Tears, Ruth Rendell (Audiobook)
“A lump of concrete dropped deliberately from a little stone bridge over a relatively unfrequented road kills the wrong person. The driver behind is spared. But only for a while… It is impossible for Chief Inspector Wexford not to wonder how terrible it would be to discover that one of his daughters had been murdered. Sylvia has always been a cause for concern. Living alone with her two children, she is pregnant again.  The relationship between father and daughter has always been uneasy. But the current situation also provokes an emotional division between Wexford and his wife, Dora.  (Adapted from Overdrive description)

The secret garden / Burnett, Frances Hodgson
“Born in India, the unattractive and willful Mary Lennox has remained in the care of servants for as long as she can remember. But the girl’s life changes when her mother and father die and she travels to Yorkshire to live with her uncle. Dark, dreary Misselthwaite Manor seems full of mysteries, including a very special garden, locked tight for 10 years. With the help of Dickon, a local boy, Mary intends to uncover its secrets.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Also available as an Audiobook.

Into the void / O’Reilly, Christina
“How easy is it for a man to simply disappear? When rural banker Richard Harper is reported missing, DSS John (Archie) Baldrick and DC Ben Travers are drawn into the tangled details of the man’s life. Would Harper really have chosen to leave his seriously ill wife, and abandon his pregnant girlfriend? Or is there a real threat behind the abusive emails he’d been receiving from desperate clients in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis? Has he really been abducted, tortured or killed? Or is Richard Harper himself behind everything that has happened? Archie and Travers ultimately face a race against time. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Find out more about the Ngaio Marsh Awards by clicking here.

Ngaio Marsh Award winners 2019

Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 Ngaio Marsh awards! Dame Fiona Kidman has won this year’s award for Best Crime Novel with This Mortal Boy. Best First Novel was awarded to J. P. Pomare for Call Me Evie. The Non Fiction award went to Kelly Dennett for her followup on the disappearance of an Auckland teenager, The Short Life and Mysterious Death of Jane Furlong.

The Ngaio Marsh Awards originated in 2010 for excellence in New Zealand crime, mystery, and thriller writing. In 2016 the award for best First Novel was added and in 2017 another category was also added for the Best Non Fiction.


This mortal boy / Kidman, Fiona (print) (eBook) (eAudiobook)
“Albert Black, known as the ‘jukebox killer’, was only twenty when he was convicted of murdering another young man in a fight at a milk bar in Auckland on 26 July 1955. His crime fuelled growing moral panic about teenagers, and he was to hang less than five months later, the second-to-last person to be executed in New Zealand.But what really happened? Was this a love crime, was it a sign of juvenile delinquency? Or was this dark episode in our recent history more about our society’s reaction to outsiders? This is his story.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverCall me Evie / J.P. Pomare.
“Meet Evie, a young woman held captive by a man named Jim in the isolated New Zealand beach town of Maketu. Jim says he’s hiding Evie to protect her, that she did something terrible back home in Melbourne. In a house that creaks against the wind, Evie begins to piece together her fractured memories of the events that led her here. Jim says he’s keeping her safe. Evie’s not sure she can trust Jim, but can she trust her own memories?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

The short life and mysterious death of Jane Furlong / Dennett, Kelly
“The abduction and murder of teenager Jane Furlong is one of New Zealand’s most enduring mysteries. Jane was 17 when she disappeared from Auckland’s Karangahape Road in 1993.  Her body was found in 2012, 20 years later. Court reporter Kelly Dennett became interested after noticing Jane Furlong’s mother, Judith Furlong, sitting alone in a courtroom during a murder trial.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Check out the shortlist for the 33rd Arthur C. Clarke award!

The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.” – Arthur C. Clarke

The prestigious Arthur C. Clarke award shortlist has just been announced. The award aims to honour the best science fiction novel of the year – 124 books were submitted and six have make the shortlist. The judges have selected a fantastically varied list from Simon Stålenhag’s graphic novel The Electric State to Ahmed Saadawi’s politically nuanced Frankenstein in Baghdad, as well as novels in the cyberpunk and military space opera genre. The judges will have a really tough time deciding who the final winner will be!

The 2019 Arthur C. Clarke Award shortlist:


Semiosis / Sue Burke.
“Colonists from Earth wanted the perfect home, but they’ll have to survive on the one they found. They don’t realize another life form watches…and waits… Only mutual communication can forge an alliance with the planet’s sentient species and prove that humans are more than tools.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Also available as an ebook.

Syndetics book coverThe electric state / Simon Stålenhag.
“In late 1997, a runaway teenager and her small yellow toy robot travel west through a strange American landscape where the ruins of gigantic battle drones litter the countryside, along with the discarded trash of a high-tech consumerist society addicted to a virtual-reality system. As they approach the edge of the continent, the world outside the car window seems to unravel at an ever faster pace, as if somewhere beyond the horizon, the hollow core of civilization has finally caved in.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFrankenstein in Baghdad : a novel / Ahmed Saadawi ; translated from the Arabic by Jonathan Wright.
“From the rubble-strewn streets of U.S.-occupied Baghdad, Hadi — a scavenger and an oddball fixture at a local café — collects human body parts and stitches them together to create a corpse. His goal, he claims, is for the government to recognize the parts as people and to give them proper burial. But when the corpse goes missing, a wave of eerie murders sweeps the city, and reports stream in of a horrendous-looking criminal who, though shot, cannot be killed. Hadi soon realizes he’s created a monster, one that needs human flesh to survive–first from the guilty, and then from anyone in its path.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Also available as an ebook.

Syndetics book coverRosewater / Tade Thompson.
“Rosewater is a town on the edge. A community formed around the edges of a mysterious alien biodome, its residents comprise the hopeful, the hungry and the helpless – people eager for a glimpse inside the dome or a taste of its rumored healing powers. Kaaro is a government agent with a criminal past. He has seen inside the biodome, and doesn’t care to again — but when something begins killing off others like himself, Kaaro must defy his masters to search for an answer, facing his dark history and coming to a realization about a horrifying future.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Ngaio Marsh Award winners announced for 2017

Syndetics book coverRecently the 2017 Ngaio Marsh Award winners were announced. The Best Crime Novel was awarded to Fiona Sussman for her novel titled The Last Time We Spoke.
The Best First Novel prize was awarded to Finn Bell, for his novel titled Dead Lemons.
The Ngaio Marsh Awards originated in 2010 for excellence in New Zealand crime, mystery, and thriller writing. In 2016 the award for best First Novel was added and in 2017 another category was also added for the Best Non Fiction.

Congratulations to Wellington author Catherine Robertson

Syndetics book coverWe send our congratulations to Wellington author Catherine Robertson on winning the Fiction Award for her novel titled The Hiding Places, at the Arts Festival Library Carnival in Nelson.
This is her fourth novel, the first The Sweet Second Life of Darrell Kincaid, was published in 2011.  Although extremely busy with her writing and also her Masters in Creative Writing study at Victoria University, Catherine has always been very generous with her time at Wellington City Libraries’ events. We wish her well for a very promising future.

Ngaio Marsh Award for best crime novel announced

Syndetics book coverPaul Cleave has won this year’s Ngaio Marsh Award for his crime novel titled Five Minutes Alone.
This is his eighth crime novel, the first was published in 2006 and was titled The Cleaner. This is the second time he has won this award, winning previously in 2011, with his novel titled Blood Men published in 2010.
His novels have been translated into fifteen languages, and many have been shortlist for international crime writing awards.

2015 Ngaio Marsh Award

Syndetics book coverThe Ngaio Marsh Award made annually for the best crime, thriller or mystery written by a New Zealand citizen or resident, began in 2010. It show cases some of the best writing in this genre, and this year’s short-list is no exception. Featuring five of the country’s best known writers, the decision of the judging panel will be difficult.
The shortlist is:
Paul Cleave for Five minutes alone
Barbara Ewing for The Petticoat men
Paddy Richardson for Swimming in the dark
Tina Shaw for The Children’s pond
Paul Thomas for Fallout
The winner will be announced on 4th October in Christchurch.

Winner of the 2015 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award announced

Syndetics book coverThe British writer Jim Crace has been awarded this year’s IMPAC Dublin Literary Award of €100,000 for his novel titled, Harvest. Set in a small English village before the industrial revolution, this novel was also short-listed for the Man Booker prize in 2013.
Jim Crace is the author of 10 other novels, and two collections of short stories, the first titled Continent began his published career in 1986. His work has received numerous literary awards.

Post-apocalypse novel wins Arthur C Clarke Award

Syndetics book coverThe Canadian writer Emily St John Mandel has won the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award for her much acclaimed fourth novel titled Station Eleven. Set in the Year Twenty it follows a troupe of actors and musicians as they cross a devastated America bringing entertainment to the isolated survivors.
Previous winners of the prestigious science fiction award have been Margaret Atwood, China Mieville and Neal Stephenson.

2015 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award shortlist announced

Syndetics book coverSyndetics book coverTen novels have been selected from nominations to make up the shortlist for this year’s IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. One of the literary world’s largest annual awards, all nominations are made by 150 libraries from 39 countries.
This year’s shortlist has a true international flavour, with novels from Russian, Moroccan, Nigerian, Brazilian, and Irish authors. Also along with American and British authors there are two Australian authors listed. The winner will be announced on the 17th June 2015 in Dublin.

2014 Man Booker Prize won by Richard Flanagan

Syndetics book coverAustralian writer Richard Flanagan has been awarded this year’s prestigious literary prize, The Man Booker, for his novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North. This is his sixth novel and is based on his father’s war time experiences as a Japanese prisoner of war working on the notorious Burma Railway.
Richard Flanagan was born in 1961 Tasmania, where he still resides. He was presented with the £50,000 at a ceremony in London, for the 46th year of the prize and notably the most contentious, as this was the first year to allow entry of any novel published in English.

Winner of the 2014 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Fiction announced

Syndetics book coverLiam McIlvanney has won the Ngaio Marsh award for his novel titled Where the Dead Men Go. This is his second published novel, following All the Colours of the Town, published in 2009.  Professor McIlvanney holds the Stuart Chair in Scottish Studies, and is the Director of Otago University’s Scottish Programme.
The book’s summary reads: “After three years in the wilderness, hardboiled reporter Gerry Conway is back at his desk at the Glasgow Tribune. But three years is a long time on newspapers and things have changed – readers are dwindling, budgets are tightening, and the Trib’s once rigorous standards are slipping. Once the paper’s star reporter, Conway now plays second fiddle to his former protégé, crime reporter Martin Moir. But when Moir goes AWOL as a big story breaks, Conway is dispatched to cover a gangland shooting. And when Moir’s body turns up in a flooded quarry, Conway is drawn deeper into the city’s criminal underworld as he looks for the truth about his colleague’s death. Braving the hostility of gangsters, ambitious politicians and his own newspaper bosses, Conway discovers he still has what it takes to break a big story. But this is a story not everyone wants to hear as the city prepares to host the Commonwealth Games and the country gears up for a make-or-break referendum on independence. In this, the second book in the Conway Trilogy, McIlvanney explores the murky interface of crime and politics in the new Scotland.” (Syndetics summary)

 

Four major awards for debut science fiction novel

Syndetics book coverAmerican writer Ann Leckie has been awarded the prestigious Hugo award, at the 72nd World Science Fiction convention in London, for her debut novel, Ancillary Justice, published in 2013. The first book of “Imperial Radch” space opera trilogy, this has also been awarded a Nebula award, the Arthur C. Clarke award and the British Science Fiction Association award.
Ann Leckie lives in St Louis, Missouri and has had many short stories published in various science fiction and fantasy magazines. She worked has worked as editor for the online science fiction and fantasy magazine Giganotosaurus and served for a year as vice president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

Short list for Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel

Syndetics book coverThe shortlist for the Ngaio Marsh Award for the Best Crime Fiction has been announced. Four novels have been selected from the long list of eight. They are
Joe Victim by Paul Cleave
Frederick’s Coat by Alan Duff
My Brother’s Keeper by Donna Malane
Where the Dead Men Go by Liam McIlvanney
This award, named after New Zealand’s most well-known crime writer, was established in 2010. Past winners have been Alix Bosco, Paul Thomas, Neil Cross and Paul Cleave.
The winner will be announced on 30th August 2014 and will receive $1,000 and a set of Ngaio Marsh Award novels.

Shortlist for the 2014 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award announced

Syndetics book coverTen novels have been selected from the 152 nominations for the 2014 IMPAC Dublin Award. One of the literary world’s largest annual awards, the nominations are made by 150 libraries from 39 countries. The winner will be announced on the 12th June 2014.
The short listed writers come from Holland, Australia, Bogota, Argentina, Norway, America, Malaysia, France and Ireland. A complete list of the nominations, nominating libraries, and the short list can be found at IMPAC Dublin Award, where some exciting new fiction is waiting to be discovered
Syndetics book cover
From the short list we highly recommend the Dutch writer Gerbrand Bakker’s novel, The Detour, also published with the title, Ten White Geese, he previously won this award in 2010 for his novel, The Twin, and Irish writer Donal Ryan’s The Spinning Heart.

Wellington author shortlisted for Arthur C Clarke Award

Syndetics book coverWellington based author Philip Mann, has been shortlist for the 2014 Arthur C. Clarke Award for best science fiction book of the year with his novel, The Disestablishment of Paradise: a novel in five parts plus documents.
From 121 nominations the judges’ selection of the final six did not include the new novels by Terry Pratchett, Margaret Attwood, or Kim Stanley Robinson, but included were three debut novelists.
Philip Mann has lived in New Zealand since 1969, retiring from the position of Professor of Drama at Victoria University in 1998. He is best known for his science fiction series, The Story of the Gardener, The Master of Paxwax published in 1986 and The Fall of the Families published in 1987.
The Disestablishment of Paradise is his first novel to be published since the four books in the series A Land Fit for Heroes, published from 1993 to 1996.
The winner of the Arthur C Clarke Award will be announced on 1st May 2014 in London.

2013 Ngaio Marsh Award shortlist announced

Recently the shortlist for New Zealand’s own Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel was announced in Christchurch. This award began in 2010 to recognise and proclaim excellence in New Zealand mystery, crime and thriller writing. In association with the Christchurch Writers’ Festival Trust it is presented to the best novel published the preceding year.

Past winners have been in 2012, Neil Cross for his novel, Luther: the calling, in 2011 Paul Cleave for his novel Blood Men, and in 2010 Alix Bosco for his novel Cut & Run.

The four novels shortlisted for 2013 are The Laughterhouse by Paul Cleave, Little Sister by Julian Novitz, Faceless by Vanda Symon and Death on Demand by Paul Thomas.

Syndetics book cover Syndetics book cover Syndetics book cover Syndetics book cover

The winner will be announced on 2nd December 2013.

Kirsty Gunn wins 2013 NZ Post Book of the Year Award

Syndetics book coverKirsty Gunn has won the 2013 New Zealand Post Book of the Year and also the Fiction Award for her novel titled The Big Music. Born in 1960, she attended college in Wellington, and after graduating from Victoria University in 1982, she completed a Master of Philosophy at Oxford University. Since then she has lived in the United Kingdom and is now Professor of Writing Practice at the University of Dundee.
Her first novel Rain, published in 1994 was adapted into a successful feature film in 2001. Since then many of her short stories have been included in anthologies and she has had four other novels published, with The Boy and the Sea, winning the Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year Award in 2007, and a literary notebook titled 44 Things: a year of life at home published in 2007.

2013 New Zealand Post Book Award finalists announced

Syndetics book coverThe finalists in the New Zealand Post Book Awards have been announced. In the Fiction Category, four novels have been selected by the panel of judges chaired by John Campbell. They are The Big Music by Kirsty Gunn, In the Absence of Heroes by Anthony McCarten, The Forrests by Emily Perkins and the debut novel by Wellington writer Gigi Fenster, titled The Intentions Book.
The winners for this and other categories will be announced in Auckland on 28th August.