Viva Mardi Gras!

CONCHITA WURST AND TREVOR ASHLEY IN CONCERT. For one night only, Austria’s greatest glam pop vocalist joined Australia’s queen of cabaret in an evening to remember. Eurovision legend CONCHITA WURST returned to Sydney with her dear friend TREVOR ASHLEY for an evening of musical magic on Thursday, 27 February 2020. Accompanied by a 40-piece orchestra conducted by Michael Tyack, they performed their greatest hits in the glorious State Theatre, with a special guest appearance by KATE MILLER-HEIDKE (not pole dancing a la Eurovision this time). There was ‘Rise Like a Phoenix’ of course, and other songs from Conchita’s platinum and gold-awarded albums, as well showstoppers and anthems made famous by great divas, including several James Bond themes – and yes, they did give us ‘the finger’. Sensational stuff! And then they did it again just for Mardi Gras! (Photo courtesy of TAE)


This page is devoted to events and activities of interest to writers, illustrators and readers! Go to entries below the quick list for more detailed information. 

The CWA’S MARGERY ALLINGHAM SHORT MYSTERY COMPETITION, and the DEBUT DAGGER 2020 both close on Saturday, 29 February 2020, and you don’t have to be a UK resident to enter (see COMPETITIONS ETC. for details).

The CWA (UK) sends you some WRITING TIPS by way of encouragement. Competition is always fierce, so why not have a look here for the CWA's crime-writing tips. On this page you can also sign up to receive the Debuts newsletter.

Also, see Preparing Your Entry for the Debut Dagger: Style Guide – with CWA secretary Dea Parkin on page on WHAT'S ON AUTHORS?, Letting Your Characters Do the Talking – with author John Dean on this page, and Beginnings and Story Flow – some miscellaneous tips from Sheila Lowe on page WHATS ON AUTHORS P3. 



‘Characters are our major tools as writers. They drive narratives and reveal things to the reader. What particularly fascinates me is the way they assume lives of their own during the writing process.

’Take the DCI Jack Harris novel on which I am working at the moment (43,000 words and counting) which will, hopefully, be published later in the year. It had been progressing reasonably well – decent plot, strong characters, vivid landscapes etc. – and I had mapped out where the story was going, but I couldn't help feeling that something was missing.

’The story lacked a spark of originality and was losing momentum and direction as a result. It was OK as it stood, but for writers 'OK' is never enough.
Which is when Harris stepped in to help. I tend to listen to my characters (it sounds a bit odd given that I created them, but they do assume identities of their own) and suddenly Harris was revealing things that I didn't know about his past. Or, rather, things that I already knew but did not recognise as important. Things from his past that were suddenly relevant to the case on which he was working.
’I have always believed that ideas float around until they find another idea to latch on to. It is an organic process and this is what happened here. Something I had written in a previous novel suddenly revealed itself as part of a bigger picture, something relevant to the theme of the new novel…

The result? Added depth to the character, a new and exciting storyline and an enthused writer believing in his novel again. The moral of the story? Let your characters do the talking.’

The latest DCI Jack Harris novel to be published was Error of Judgement. John Dean's most recent novel was the latest in his other series, featuring DCI John Blizzard, A Flicker in the Night. Find out more about John Dean here






VIVA MARDI GRAS 2020! – Memories of past parades. Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney says: ‘Mardi Gras is one of the most anticipated and treasured events in the busy Sydney calendar, with an incredible array of activities that celebrate diversity and welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors to our city. Now in its fifth decade, Mardi Gras is as relevant and provocative as ever. This year’s theme, WHAT MATTERS, recognises the ongoing need for social justice in our community – while we celebrate, we must remember the challenges faced by many and continue to fight for a more inclusive society. We are proud to be supporting and celebrating the annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival, and I look forward to marching with you and seeing you at many of this year’s events.’ (Photo Montage by L.J. May S/S)