Got some rather exciting news to feed into the new writing year. I was named a runner up in the Sisters in Crime US 2023 Pride Award for EmergingLGBTQIA+ Crime Writers. Holy moly.
I congratulate Nicole Prewitt, the Award Winner, and my four fellow runners up.
Chloë Belle, Chicago, Illinois; Melissa Berry, Canton, Ohio; Kim Hunt, Wellington, New Zealand; Linda Krug, Duluth, Minnesota; and Emmy McCarthy, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
It’s so cool to see my name and home of Aotearoa NZ alongside North American based writers.
As a writer from a marginalised community, these kinds of recognitions are crucial to validating our ongoing work which is so often overlooked by mainstream awards and events.
I’ve included an excerpt from my submission below as it’s not often I get to speak to my position as a writer from the margins.
My status as an emerging writer relates neither to my age nor being newly graduated. As a working-class Kiwi butch living abroad, let me take you back to the mid-nineties in Sydney, when queerness was newly celebrated in some places. I lucked-out as a youngish, mature-age student at Sydney’s University of Technology. Glenda Adams, who had taught at both Columbia and Sarah Lawrence in the US, set up and developed a post-grad writing programme at UTS Sydney which later became a model for similar programmes throughout Australia. In the nurture of her classes, I discovered and explored my own writing.
I write partly as a response to a lifetime of reading ‘against the grain’, of trying to find people I recognise on the page. I write the kinds of books I wish I could have found when I was younger. Books peopled with a diversity of characters usually absent or invisible, working-class gender outlaws, fierce femmes, queers and precious misfits.
I’ve been around a long time and lived through a lot. I’ve experienced traditional publishing. It’s offered me a great opportunity and has also presented me with a place to learn how to navigate commercial straight-washing, compromised language and an often-unacknowledged pressure to conform.
I’m approaching publication of my second-in-series in a different way. The Wellington (NZ) -based feminist Spiral Collectives knowingly refer to themselves as a publisher of last resort. They were behind Keri Hulme's 1985 Booker Prize winning the bone people. Together with an editor and designer, I have formed a new Spiral Collective to facilitate The Quarry's publication. By this arrangement we will be self-publishing under the Spiral Collectives imprint in mid-2023.
I write for myself and for others who want to see characters living complicated lives who also happen to reflect marginalised and, many of us might say, vilified identities. It’s important to me that I redress the vacuum and paucity of material currently available to butches and their allies.
That’s why I write what I write.
I also enjoy reading other emerging writers and I understand the difficulties and hurdles that many of us face. The SinC Emerging LGBTQIA+ Award is a valuable moment to grasp long-awaited momentum and get on with it.
How the award would be used: If I won the award, I’d fill the petrol tank in my pick-up, which I can rarely afford to do. I’d take my missus out and show her a good time. If there was anything left, I’d book an appointment with my dentist.
Trigger warnings: rape, assault/murder, profanity.
I’m happy for my name to be used publicly.
So, as 2024 kicks off, I’m head down writing the third Cal Nyx mystery, The Freezer.
The second printing of The Beautiful Dead, the first in Cal Nyx series is slated for April 2024.
And the second-in-series, The Quarry, is currently available in paperback and ebook.
It’s a year of Cal Nyx. Can I stand it? I may need to sink my head into an ice bath.
Thank you to my readers and Cal Nyx fans. And thank you Sisters in Crime US for noticing this writer from the Antipodes. Y’all make it worthwhile.
See the website kimhuntauthor.com for updates. Sign up for email news on launches and events.