Talking Writing: Casing the Joint

Talking Writing: Casing the Joint

How do you write about crime realistically and ethically? Where do you go to find out about forensics or police procedure or real events? How do you get the details right and what’s at stake if you don’t? Join us for an exploration of how crime writers shape their research and lived experience into work designed to entertain and challenge. Explore what goes on behind the closed doors of writing crime and uncover the clues to pull it off yourself.

Benjamin Law will discuss his work as a researcher for the documentary Deep Water: The Real Story, part of a multi-platform project by SBS investigating gay-hate crimes in Sydney in the 1980s and ’90s. Anna Westbrook will delve into the process of turning a long dormant cold case into fiction for her historical crime novel Dark Fires Shall Burn, set in 1940s Newtown. Thriller writer L.A. Larkin will uncover what went into writing two books set in Antarctica. And television researcher and writer Niki Aken will reveal what goes into creating crime dramas like Underbelly and Janet King. Chaired by writer, crime fiction fan and NSWWC project officer Ashley Kalagian Blunt.


Thursday 23 February, 6.30-8.00pm

NSW Writers’ Centre, Callan Park, Rozelle

$10 for non-members, free for members

Members are also welcome to bring a guest for free



Niki Aken is a multi-award winning screenwriter, script editor and researcher. Since her television debut in 2012 on Underbelly: Badness (for which she wrote the series finale – despite it being her first gig writing television – and won a Best Original Screenplay AWGIE), Niki has become one of Australia’s most in-demand young screenwriters. Along with Felicity Packard, Niki co-wrote the historical drama mini-series ANZAC Girls, which won them the 2014 Best Adapted Screenplay AWGIE. ANZAC Girls was the most watched Australian drama series on the ABC in 2014 with a peak audience of 1.8 million. More recently Niki has storylined and written on series 2 and 3 of legal thriller Janet King, as well as script editing the second series.

Thriller author, L.A. Larkin, has been described by James Phelan as ‘a world-class thriller writer’ and likened to Michael Crichton and Matthew Reilly. Devour (2016) is the first novel in a new thriller series that has been highly praised by authors such as Peter James and Kathryn Fox. Sue Turnbull in The Age says of Devour: ‘Bounding into the hitherto masculine preserve of the action thriller comes a new breed of female heroine – journalist Olivia Wolfe.’ Larkin is author of The Genesis Flaw and Thirst, and also writes humorous mysteries as Louisa Bennet. An adventurer at heart, she has spent time in Antarctica, and with scientists at the British Antarctic Survey and the Australian Antarctic Division. Larkin moves between Sydney and London, and teaches mystery and thriller writing.


Benjamin Law is a journalist, columnist, TV screenwriter and author of two books – The Family Law (2010) and Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East (2012). Both were nominated for Australian Book Industry Awards. The Family Law is now an AACTA-nominated TV series for SBS.




Anna Westbrook is a Sydney-based writer. Her debut, Dark Fires Shall Burn (Scribe; 2016), is a literary crime novel exploring the impact of the real-life unsolved murder of a young girl in Newtown in 1946. She is a lecturer in literature and creative writing at New York University in Sydney, and holds a PhD from the University of New South Wales. She has been shortlisted for The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award and received an Australian Society of Authors’ Mentorship Award. Anna has been anthologized in Herding Kites (Affirm Press) and online in The Disappearing (Red Room Poetry), and published in harlequin creature (USA), The Bastille (France), Voiceworks, Slit, Scum, Cuttings, Pony, and WQ (Australia). She is currently working on her next novel.

Join us

Become a member of the NSW Writers' Centre to get Newswrite magazine, discounts to courses and festivals, mentorship, free access to writers' groups, writers' spaces, members' events, the library and more. Join now ›

Follow us on