Villainous Newtown event: Now available to view on YouTube

Recently at Newtown Library we had the rare opportunity to hear four fabulous crime writers in full flow talking about their work, when the Ngaio Marsh Awards in association with Wellington City Libraries invited booklovers to an unmissable crime and thriller evening as part of the build-up to the 2024 Ngaio Marsh Awards.

Our Villainous Newtown author line-up - featuring Nick Davis, Kim Hunt, Jennifer Lane and Charity Norman
Our Villainous Newtown author line-up – featuring Nick Davis, Kim Hunt, Jennifer Lane and Charity Norman

It was a fabulous night, and although this very special event has now passed into the annals of history, we were very lucky to have permission from all the authors and the Ngaio Marsh Awards to film the proceedings. It’s now our pleasure to present that recording for your enjoyment further below.

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Villainous Newtown: crime writers author talk 22 March


The Ngaio Marsh Awards, in association with Wellington City Libraries, invites booklovers to an unmissable crime and thriller event coming up, as part of the build up to the 2024 Ngaio Marsh Awards.

The event features two Ngaio Marsh Award winners, one finalist and one of the hottest debut crime writers around!

When: Friday 22 March 6.00 – 7.00pm

Where: Newtown Library

Villainous Newtown Ngaio Marsh Awards Facebook Event

This is a free event, featuring:

Debut author and 2024 entrant Nick Davies, author of El Flamingo

Ngaio Marsh Best First Novel finalist and 2024 entrant Kim Hunt, author of The Quarry

Ngaio Marsh Best First Novel winner Jennifer Lane, author of Miracle

and, rounding this incredible panel off:

Ngaio Marsh Best Novel winner 2023 Charity Norman, author of Remember Me

Continue reading “Villainous Newtown: crime writers author talk 22 March”

2023 Ngaio Marsh Award Winners

Huge congratulations to the recently announced winners of the 2023 Ngaio Marsh Awards!

The judges had a formidable task as this years  longlist was so strong. However in the end they came to a decision and…

The wonderful Charity Norman picked up the Best Novel accolade for Remember Me; you can see our exclusive interview with Charity Norman Below.

Her winning novel Remember Me is a powerful, suspenseful, multi-layered, page-turning, contemporary thriller set in a close-knit New Zealand community. The plot revolves around the disappearance of a young woman twenty-five years previously.

The Best First Novel went to excellent Better the Blood by Michael Bennett and the non-fiction award was won by Steve Braunias for acclaimed Missing Persons.

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.

To accompany the awards, we recently had the great pleasure of seeing Charity Norman in full flow hosting an evening panel of criminally good conversation at our event Karori Mystery in the Library, a recording of which you can watch below.


Overdrive coverRemember Me, Charity Norman (ebook)
A heartfelt, page-turning suspense novel from the bestselling author of The Secrets of Strangers – ideal reading-group fiction, perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult and Liane Moriarty.

Also available as a Physical copy. 


Better the blood / Bennett, Michael
“Hana Westerman is a tenacious Māori detective juggling single motherhood and the pressures of her career in Auckland’s Central Investigation Branch. When she’s led to a crime scene by a mysterious video, she discovers a man hanging in a secret room. Hana and her team work to track down the killer, searching for New Zealand’s first serial killer.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.


Missing persons / Braunias, Steve
“Twelve extraordinary tales of disappearance: a collection of true crime writing by New Zealand’s award-winning master of non-fiction. Former journalist Murray Mason, found dead in the Auckland Domain; the mysterious death of Socksay Chansy, found dead in a graveyard by the sea; the tragic disappearance of backpacker Grace Millane, victim of public enemy #1; the enduring mystery of the Lundy family murders… These are stories about how some New Zealanders go missing – the wrong person in the wrong place at the wrong time.” (Adapted from  Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Poker, Poverty and the Power of Storytelling: 2023 Ngaio Marsh Award longlist revealed


A poker-playing sleuth, a poet’s gritty take on life on Aotearoa’s poverty line, a rural mystery entwined with heart-wrenching exploration of dementia, and the long-awaited return of a master of neo-noir are among the diverse tales named today on the longlist for the 2023 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Novel.

 Now in their fourteenth season, the Ngaio Marsh Awards celebrate excellence in New Zealand crime, mystery, and thriller writing. They are named for Dame Ngaio Marsh, one of the Queens of Crime of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, who penned bestselling mysteries that entertained millions of global readers from her home in the Cashmere Hills. “I’d like to think Dame Ngaio would be proud of how our modern Kiwi storytellers are continuing her literary legacy, bringing fresh perspectives and a cool mix of fascinating tales to one of the world’s most popular storytelling forms,” says awards founder Craig Sisterson. “In recent years we seem to be going through our own golden age, with our local writers offering a treasure trove of terrific stories for readers at home and all over the world.”

The longlist for the 2023 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Novel includes a mix of past winners and finalists, several first-time entrants and new voices, and the long-awaited return of one of the leading lights of the early 2000s New Zealand literary scene. “In crime and thriller writing it’s natural for authors to make it really tough on their characters,” says Sisterson, “but our entrants made it tough on our judges too. This year’s longlist is a wonderful showcase of Kiwi creativity, with a great range of stories that explore some deep and very important issues in among the page-turning intrigue and thrills.”

The Ngaio Marsh Awards have celebrated the best New Zealand crime, mystery, thriller, and suspense writing since 2010. The longlist for this year’s Best Novel prize is:

The longlist is currently being considered by an international judging panel of crime and thriller writing experts from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. Finalists for Best Novel, Best First Novel, and Best Non-Fiction will be announced in August, with the finalists celebrated and the winners announced as part of a special event held in association with WORD Christchurch later in the year.

And in recent months we have been honoured to host several events in conjunction with Ngaio Marsh Awards featuring some of the longlisted authors and you can watch our recordings of these fabulous events below or by visiting our You Tube channel by clicking here.

Culprits in the Capital: Newtown Mystery in the Library event video

Recently at Newtown Library we had the second of our two crime-writing events, run in conjunction with and celebrating the wonderful Ngaio Marsh awards. Both events featured a host of New Zealand’s finest crime and thriller writes; the event in Newtown Library featured the following fabulous  panellists:

Anne Harre is an author and school librarian in Wellington who’s also worked as a music teacher, bookseller, and editor of the New Zealand Poetry Society anthology. Her first crime novel The Leaning Man was praised as “slick, engaging and compelling” (Academy of NZ Literature).

Brannavan Gnanalingam is a Wellington novelist, freelance writer, and property lawyer who was born in Sri Lanka and grew up in Lower Hutt. He’s written seven novels, been listed for the Ockham NZ Book Awards three times, and won a 2021 Ngaio Marsh Award for Sprigs.

Kirsten McDougall is an award-winning short story writer, novelist, and creative writing teacher who lives in Ōwhiro Bay. Her novels have been longlisted for the Ockham NZ Book Awards and the Dublin Literary Award, and Kirsten is a two-time finalist for the Ngaio Marsh Awards.

Rodney Strong is a Porirua author who left his day job in 2016 to follow his lifelong dream of being a writer. He has since published more than a dozen books for children and adults, including five Ghostly Hitchhiker mysteries and five Silvermoon Retirement Village mysteries.

This criminally good event featured a great panel discussion between the writers that was unmissable for crime and thriller fans, but if you did miss it, do not fear – with the participants’ and Ngaio Marsh Awards’ permission, we were able to film the proceedings and are now proud to present a video of the evening.

You can now view the video below, or visit our You Tube channel here. And don’t forget to check out our first Ngaio Marsh Awards event at Karori Library here.

Slow down you’re here. / Gnanalingam, Brannavan
“Kavita is stuck in a dead-end marriage. A parent of two small kids, she is the family’s main breadwinner. An old flame unexpectedly offers her a week away in Waiheke. If she were to go, she’s not sure when – or if – she’d come back.” (Adapted from catalogue)



Sprigs / Gnanalingam, Brannavan
“It is Saturday afternoon and two boys’ schools are locked in battle for college rugby supremacy. Priya – a fifteen year old who barely belongs – watches from the sidelines. Then it is Saturday night and the team is partying. Priya’s friends have evaporated and she isn’t sure what to do. In the weeks after ‘the incident’ life seems to go on. But when whispers turn to confrontation, the institutions of wealth and privilege circle the wagons.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


The leaning man / Harré, Anne
“Wellington. The land dips and rolls, the wind has a life of its own. It’s Saturday night down on the wharf. Celebrations are in full swing for the Westons’ fortieth wedding anniversary. Their daughter Stella has returned from London to attend. She’s now a private investigator in London, reduced to filming errant husbands for court cases. She doesn’t want to be home. Later that night her best friend Teri is found dead in a lane in the central city. Her phone is missing. It looks like suicide, but Stella won’t believe it. The race is on between those who want the phone, the homeless man who’s pocketed it, and Stella.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

She’s a killer. / McDougall, Kirsten
“Set in a very near future New Zealand where the effects of climate change are really beginning to bite and affect both our physical world but also our society.Full of spicy and fresh characters that leap of the book’s pages and a plot effortlessly moves from razor sharp humour to Climate fear driven sure shot action.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Tess / McDougall, Kirsten
“Tess is on the run when she’s picked up from the side of the road by lonely middle-aged father Lewis Rose. With reluctance, she’s drawn into his family troubles and comes to know a life she never had. Set in Masterton at the turn of the millennium, Tess is a gothic love story about the ties that bind and tear a family apart.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Troy’s possibilities / Strong, Rodney
“For Troy Messer, time travel is great on TV, but it’s not reality. Troy is afflicted by a condition that lets him live out different futures for himself – lots of them. Jaded by all the possibilities, he drifts from day to day never knowing if what he’s living is real life or just a possible one. When he first meets Cat, it’s not even close to love at first sight. She pepper sprays him and steals his phone. But then he meets her again, and again. Finally he becomes convinced that this funny, crazy woman might just be what he needs to make sense of his existence. But in his strange world of possiblities nothing is straightforward.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Capital Crimes: Karori Mystery in the Library event video

Recently, at Karori Library, we had the first of two crime-writing events run in conjunction with, and celebrating, the wonderful Ngaio Marsh awards. Both events featured a host of New Zealand’s finest crime and thriller writers. At the Karori event our  fabulous panellists were:

 Charity Norman as chair. Charity is the author of seven novels, including World Book Night title After The Fall and past Ngaio Marsh Awards finalists See you in September and The Secrets of Strangers. Charity was born in Uganda and worked as a lawyer in northern England before immigrating to New Zealand in 2002.

Helen Vivienne Fletcher is a playwright, poet, writing teacher and children’s author. She’s been shortlisted for the Joy Cowley Award and was named Outstanding Young Playwright at the Wellington Theatre Awards. Her first YA novel was a finalist for the 2018 Ngaio Marsh Awards.

Jennifer Lane is a copywriter, short story writer, and author. Her short stories have been published in journals and magazines in New Zealand and Australia. Jennifer’s debut novel, All Our Secrets, won the 2018 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best First Novel. Her latest novel, Miracle, is a finalist on 2023 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

And Alistair Luke. Alistair is a Wellington architect and debut novelist with a passion for our capital city’s history. A fourth-generation Wellingtonian, his first novel One Heart One Spade is a historical police procedural set locally in the late 1970s.

This criminally good event had a great panel discussion on how to craft memorable characters and create page-turning storylines. The event has now passed into history but with the participants and Ngaio Marsh Awards’ permission, we were able to film the proceedings and are now proud to present a video of the evening. You can now view the video below or visit our You Tube channel.

The video of our second Newtown event will be up soon as well. Below is a selection of titles from the authors involved which are available to borrow from the library.

The secrets of strangers / Norman, Charity
“Five strangers, one cafe – and the day that everything changed. A regular weekday morning veers drastically off-course for a group of strangers whose paths cross in a London cafe – their lives never to be the same again when an apparently crazed gunman holds them hostage. But there is more to the situation than first meets the eye and as the captives grapple with their own inner demons, the line between right and wrong starts to blur. Will the secrets they keep stop them from escaping with their lives?” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

See you in September / Norman, Charity
“Having broken up with her boyfriend, Cassy accepts an invitation to stay in an idyllic farming collective. Overcome by the peace and beauty of the valley and swept up in the charisma of Justin, the community’s leader, Cassy becomes convinced that she has to stay. As Cassy becomes more and more entrenched in the group’s beliefs, her frantic parents fight to bring her home – before Justin’s prophesied Last Day can come to pass.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Miracle / Lane, Jennifer
“Born in the middle of Australia’s biggest-ever earthquake, Miracle is fourteen when her world crumbles. Thanks to her dad’s new job at Compassionate Cremations — which falls under suspicion for Boorunga’s spate of sudden deaths — the entire town turns against their family. She fears for her agoraphobic mother, and for her angelic, quake-damaged brother, Julian. When Oli plays a cruel trick on Miracle, he sets off a chain of devastating events. Then her dad is arrested for a brutal attack. How can she convince the town of her dad’s innocence?” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

All our secrets / Lane, Jennifer
“A girl called Gracie. A small town called Coongahoola with the dark Bagooli River running through it. The River Children – born in the aftermath of the infamous River Picnic. They begin to go missing, one after another. Gracie Barrett is the naively savvy spokesperson for her chaotic family, for the kids who are taken, for the lurking fear that locks down the town and puts everyone under suspicion. Coongahoola is where hope and fear collide, where tender adolescence is confronted by death, where kindness is a glimmer of light  in the dark.”(Adapted from Catalogue)

Broken silence / Fletcher, Helen Vivienne
“A stranger just put Kelseys boyfriend in a coma. The worst part? She asked him to do it. Seventeen-year-old Kelsey is dealing with a lot an abusive boyfriend, a gravely ill mother, an absent father, and a confusing new love interest. After her boyfriend attacks her in public, a stranger on the end of the phone line offers to help. Kelsey pays little attention to his words, but the caller is deadly serious. Suddenly the people Kelsey loves are in danger, and only Kelsey knows it. Will Kelsey discover the identity of the caller before its too late?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

One heart one spade / Luke, Alistair
“Wellington, December 1977. Felicity Daniels is missing, and a murdered drug dealer has complicated things for Detective Lucas Cole. Around him the Criminal Investigation Branch starts to unravel. As the questions surface, Cole starts to wonder if one of their own is responsible. New bonds form, and old ones wilt under the pressure. Facts become fictions and fictions become facts, the most trusted becoming the most likely. With his own relationship on the rocks, Lucas is led down a path he might regret as he negotiates the personal and the professional to find both Felicity and his own soul. One Heart, One Spade is a compelling crime story about family, love and loss in 1970s New Zealand.” (Adapted from Catalogue)