Aurealis Award winners for 2012

perfections by kirstyn mcdermottThere is new shiny on the bookshelf: Kirstyn snared the Aurealis Award for best horror novel with Perfections. The novel previously won the Shadows, too. Yup, pipped me (and others) again, she did, and rightly so. Perfections is one of those novels where every word is in its place, every concept beautifully revealed, and the story lingers long after the cover is closed.

If you run an eye down this list of winners, announced in Sydney on Saturday night, you’ll see Margo Lanagan is still riding the wave with her novel Sea Hearts (psst: Coeur de Lion is working on releasing a digital version of X6, in which the original novella from which the novel sprang first appeared, along with the remarkable ‘Wives’ by Paul Haines), and also kicking goals with her most excellent Cracklescape collection.

Cat Sparks pictures from the night are here

Kaaron Warren‘s ‘Sky’, from her Through Splintered Walls collection, is again in the winner’s circle. Here’s a heads up: Kirstyn’s collection in the same Twelve Planets series is to be launched at Continuum next month.

The awards are always a great event, with lots of catching up, and meeting new people, too. Highly recommended if you want a peep at what’s happening in the Australian spec fic scene: the finalists make a damn fine reading list.

In accepting the Peter Mac for her awesome contribution to Australian writing through roles in such events and organisations as the Queensland Writers Centre (and now Brisbane Writers Festival), Fantastic Queensland and Clarion South, Kate Eltham spoke about the tribe that is the spec fic community and it supports and nurtures its own. The awards are the perfect example of inclusivity, respect and support. Next year they’re in Canberra, probably around March. Looking forward to it already!

Aurealis Awards winners 2012

BEST CHILDREN’S FICTION (TOLD PRIMARILY THROUGH WORDS)
Brotherband: The Hunters (Random House) by John Flanagan

BEST CHILDREN’S FICTION (TOLD PRIMARILY THROUGH PICTURES)
Little Elephants (Penguin) by Graeme Base

BEST YOUNG ADULT SHORT STORY
‘The Wisdom of the Ants’ (Clarkesworld) by Thoraiya Dyer

BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL
(Joint winners)
Dead, Actually (Allen and Unwin) by Kaz Delaney
Sea Hearts (Allen and Unwin) by Margo Lanagan

BEST ILLUSTRATED BOOK/GRAPHIC NOVEL
Blue (Giramondo) by Pat Grant

BEST COLLECTION
That Book Your Mad Ancestor Wrote (self-published) by KJ Bishop

BEST ANTHOLOGY
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Six (Night Shade Books) edited by Jonathan Strahan

BEST HORROR SHORT STORY
‘Sky’ (Through Splintered Walls, Twelfth Planet Press) by Kaaron Warren

BEST HORROR NOVEL
Perfections (Xoum) by Kirstyn McDermott

BEST FANTASY SHORT STORY
‘Bajazzle’ by Margo Lanagan (Cracklescape, Twelfth Planet Press)

BEST FANTASY NOVEL
Sea Hearts (Allen and Unwin) by Margo Lanagan

BEST SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY
‘Significant Dust’ (Cracklescape, Twelfth Planet Press) by Margo Lanagan

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL
The Rook (HarperCollins) by Daniel O’Malley

PETER MCNAMARA CONVENORS’ AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE
Kate Eltham
KRIS HEMBURY ENCOURAGEMENT AWARD
Laura Goodin

Newcastle Writers Festival truly ex-cell-ent

newcastle jail courtyard

Newcastle Gaol courtyard, scene of the crime

Every writers’ festival should have a jail.

Especially for a panel on horror.

The inaugural Newcastle Writers Festival  was a hoot, and pretty darn smooth, too, despite being held over a number of venues and being run by staff who hadn’t really done much like this before.

They had 60 writers and a whole lot of sell-out panels, with a grand get-together at the art gallery and an opening night speech par excellence from Miriam Margolyes  in a gorgeous theatre, panels in council chambers and the wonderfully scenic Noah’s hotel and a pub and — awesomeness of awesomeness — an old jail!

Kirstyn and I had a grand ol’ chat with Jenny Blackford about writing and horror and Kirstyn’s necklace and the barbarous destruction of some very old fig trees in a city park, all in the surrounds of a barred courtyard with an old loo in the far corner. Newcastle is Kirstyn’s old stomping ground, and it was interesting to see the evolution of the city through her remembrances.

Also flying the flag for spec fic was Margo Lanagan — we caught her YA panel. Jack Dann and Janeen Webb and Russell Blackford were also guests, but family commitments meant we got only to see Jack read an amazing homage to Gene Wolfe in a packed pub outing dedicated to Sin. Amidst gay-hating religion and people smuggling and ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ — the poem, not Iron Maiden — Jack and wonderfully, pointedly funny Anita Heiss brought the prose on home.

Miriam Margolyes’ opening night talk — highly recommended

Anyway, we loved the atmosphere at the festival — they drove those of us at Noah’s in an adapted tram to the Friday night soiree! — and Newcastle itself is a pretty amazing place, so much going on in not a lot of square mileage given the coal and the coast and river and history and attempts to breathe life into the inner city. Some wonderful artwork on display, for instance, at the Emporium, and some serious cafe action. There’s even a writers’ walk, which we didn’t get to do, but the fact they have one is pretty cool. I felt there was a real hunger there for some spec fic action, too. If even felt like a spec fic convention in one way: the hotel’s bar shut far too early!

The festival was such a blast the organisers have already announced dates for next year — April 4–6 — and we’re putting it on the calendar now. Even if the festival isn’t using the jail as a venue next year, there are tours. Ex-cell-ent!

While I was offline… and OMG look at all the Conflux book launches!

  • Sean the Bookonaut has been blogging up a storm. Viz, an examination of Grimdark — a category of genre coding I hadn’t even heard of.
  • Angela Slatter is having a book, Narrow Daylight, published by my digital publisher Xoum — yay for being stablemates (and stable mates, though are we, as individuals, stable? argh!)
  • Lisa L Hannett has had a new essay published at This Is Horror, calling for a consideration of less used/abused things that go bump in the night, which in turn leads to an essay from James Bradley about the ever-evolving vampire metaphor.
  • Random House is taken to task for onerous conditions in its digital imprint Hydra, and makes amends, as reported by Locus.
  • A Brissie launch on April 9 for Charlotte Nash’s debut novel Ryders Ridge.
  • Dymocks ends its publishing effort, D Publishing, perhaps on the nose from the get-go due to a roundly criticised contract base.
  • Margo Lanagan makes the long list of the Stella Prize with Sea Hearts.
  • And I’ve sifted the program for Conflux next month to find the book launches — hold onto your hats!

    I’m not sure if it counts as a launch, but Angry Robot (whose supremo Marc Gascoigne is a guest of honour at the con) is having ‘an hour’ from 1.30pm on the Sunday. Angry Robot is chockers with Aussie writers (Kaaron Warren, Jo Anderton, Trent Jamieson, Lee Battersby …) so it’ll be bookish, whatever it is.

  • Aussies on Locus’ recommended list of 2012

    Pleasing to see Aussie writers make the cut on Locus magazine’s recommended spec fic reads of 2012.

    Some that my eye found were Kaaron Warren and Margo Lanagan for Twelfth Planet Press yarns, and Margo for Sea Hearts and her collection Cracklescape as well, and the Slatter/Hannett Midnight and Moonshine collection — doubly great to see a small presses from Down Under making an impression — and Sean McMullen and Terry Dowling and Anna Tambour and Greg Egan, and editors Amanda Pillar (Ishtar) and Jonathan Strahan (three books!).

    Salvage in Twelfth Planet showcase at Melbourne Writers Festival

    twelfth planets press melbourne writers festival showcaseAugust is a big month for Salvage, having an outing in Queensland and now, bobbing up at the Melbourne Writers Festival!

    Twelfth Planet Press presents a free showcase event at the festival, with Kerry Greenwood of the Phryne Fisher mysteries fame launching the Twelve Planets series. On hand to present their titles already released and forthcoming will be Kaaron Warren, Cat Sparks, Deborah Biancotti, Narrelle M Harris, Deborah Kalin, Rosaleen Love, Kirstyn McDermott, Lucy Sussex … and me*.

    There will be drinkage, and music, and all Twelfth Planet books will be available, including the newest releases of the Twelve Planets range: Through Splintered Walls by Kaaron Warren and hot-off-the-press Cracklespace by Margo Lanagan (previewed at Continuum in June).

    I’ve just read these two titles, and they are spectacular: Margo has brought her touch of the fantastic closer to home, while Kaaron raises the chill factor, especially with the longest story of her collection, ‘Sky’: you might want to have a bath after reading it.

    Kerry will be joining the Twelfth Planet authors for signings.

    The showcase is on Sunday August 26, at 5.30pm, at the Yarra Building in Federation Square. It’s a free, non-ticketed event, which means you can just turn up and enjoy. An ideal pre-dinner outing, neh?

    Writerly round-up: a new book, an award, a farewell

    It’s the afternoon after the four days that came before, and what a grand four days Continuum 8 offered. Held at Rydges in Carlton, where the bartenders were, as usual, outgunned by demand, the convention pulled together writers, publishers, readers and knitters (!) from around the country for the celebration of all things fantastical.

    Twelfth Planet Press launched new titles by Kaaron Warren — a printing error has meant a recall for those who have already snaffled the enticing collection — and Margo Lanagan (officially hitting the shelves in August) and my novella Salvage (yay!). Keep an ear out for a podcast recorded at the beautifully laid out Embiggen Books(timber shelves! ladders! SECRET DOOR!) about the Twelve Planets series of collections. [update: the podcast is now available here]

    Twelve Planets podcast

    Twelve Planets podcast at Embiggen Books

    There were panels on vampires, e-books, Australian writing and many other things; launches; parties; costumes; crafts; dinners on Lygon St; the nearest Japanese restaurant would’ve seen a pleasing surge in income. And there were awards, with Paul Haines and Sara Douglass both receiving posthumous accolades. A further highlight of the Ditmars was the squeaking octopii, given out as stand-ins when the actual awards failed to arrive in time.

    Also awarded were the Chronos awards, recognising achievements by Victorian writers, artists and fans, and how pleasing it was to receive one for ‘best fan writer’. A lovely acknowledgement of my new address! And Kirstyn and co-host Ian Mond landed Ditmar and Chronos awards for their podcast, The Writer and the Critic. The awards lists are below.

    Convention pictures by Cat Sparks*

    More pix from yours truly

    So amidst the catching up, the memorials and general frivolity, a bittersweet announcement has been made: my wonderful boss, Kate Eltham, is leaving the Queensland Writers Centre to take the reins at next year’s Brisbane Writers Festival. Kate is a dynamic woman and talented writer who has made the QWC such an active organisation, reaching out across the state and the nation and overseas through various programs all aimed at not just keeping writers of all ilks in the loop but helping them to be part of the loops. It’ll be interesting to see what new ideas she brings to the BWF. This is great news for Kate and a real shift of gears, but I confess that I will sure miss her. Good luck with it, mate!

    Kirstyn McDermott, Ian Mond host Continuum awards ceremony

    Kirstyn and Ian host the awards ceremony

    Ditmar Award winners:

    Peter McNamara Award: Bill Congreve

    A. Bertram Chandler Award:Richard Harland

    Norma K Hemming Award, TIE: Anita (AA) Bell for Hindsight; Sara Douglass for The Devil’s Diadem

    And a new award, the Infinity:Merv Binns

    Best Novel

    • WINNER: The Courier’s New Bicycle, Kim Westwood (HarperCollins)
    • Debris (The Veiled Worlds 1), Jo Anderton (Angry Robot)
    • Burn Bright, Marianne de Pierres (Random House Australia)
    • The Shattered City (Creature Court 2), Tansy Rayner Roberts (HarperCollins)
    • Mistification, Kaaron Warren (Angry Robot)

    Best Novella or Novelette

    • WINNER: ‘The Past is a Bridge Best Left Burnt’, Paul Haines (The Last Days of Kali Yuga)
    • ‘And the Dead Shall Outnumber the Living’, Deborah Biancotti (Ishtar)
    • ‘Above’, Stephanie Campisi (Above/Below)
    • ‘Below’, Ben Peek (Above/Below)
    • ‘Julia Agrippina’s Secret Family Bestiary’, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Love and Romanpunk)
    • ‘The Sleeping and the Dead’, Cat Sparks (Ishtar)

    Best Short Story

    • WINNER: ‘The Patrician’, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Love and Romanpunk)
    • ‘Bad Power’, Deborah Biancotti (Bad Power)
    • ‘Breaking the Ice’, Thoraiya Dyer (Cosmos 37)
    • ‘The Last Gig of Jimmy Rucker’, Martin Livings & Talie Helene (More Scary Kisses)
    • ‘Alchemy’, Lucy Sussex (Thief of Lives)
    • ‘All You Can Do Is Breathe’, Kaaron Warren (Blood and Other Cravings)

    Best Collected Work

    • WINNER: The Last Days of Kali Yuga, Paul Haines (Brimstone)
    • Bad Power, Deborah Biancotti (Twelfth Planet)
    • Nightsiders, Sue Isle (Twelfth Planet)
    • Ishtar, Amanda Pillar & KV Taylor, eds. (Gilgamesh)
    • Love and Romanpunk, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Twelfth Planet)

    Best Artwork

    • WINNER: ‘Finishing School’, Kathleen Jennings, in Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories (Candlewick)
    • Cover art for The Freedom Maze (Small Beer), Kathleen Jennings

    Best Fan Writer

    • WINNER: Robin Pen, for The Ballad of the Unrequited Ditmar’
    • Bruce Gillespie, for body of work including The Golden Age of Fanzines is Now’, and SF Commentary 81 & 82
    • Alexandra Pierce, for body of work including reviews at Australian Speculative Fiction in Focus, Not If You Were The Last Short Story On Earth, and Randomly Yours, Alex
    • Tansy Rayner Roberts, for body of work including reviews at Australian Speculative Fiction in Focus, and Not If You Were The Last Short Story On Earth
    • Sean Wright, for body of work including ‘Authors and Social Media’ series in Adventures of a Bookonaut

    Best Fan Artist

    • WINNER: Kathleen Jennings, for work in Errantry, including ‘The Dalek Game’
    • Rebecca Ing, for work in Scape
    • Dick Jenssen, for body of work including work in IRS, Steam Engine Time, SF Commentary, and Scratchpad
    • Lisa Rye, for Steampunk Portal series
    • Rhianna Williams, for work in Nullas Anxietas Convention Program Book

    Best Fan Publication in Any Medium

    • WINNER: The Writer and the Critic podcast, Kirstyn McDermott & Ian Mond
    • SF Commentary, Bruce Gillespie, ed.
    • Galactic Chat podcast, Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner Roberts & Sean Wright
    • Galactic Suburbia podcast, Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayer Roberts, & Alex Pierce
    • The Coode Street podcast, Gary K. Wolfe & Jonathan Strahan

    Best New Talent

    • WINNER: Joanne Anderton
    • Alan Baxter
    • Steve Cameron

    William Atheling Jr. Award for Criticism or Review

    • WINNER: Alexandra Pierce & Tehani Wessely, for reviews of The Vorkosigan Saga, in Randomly Yours, Alex
    • Russell Blackford, for ‘Currently reading: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke’, in Metamagician and the Hellfire Club
    • Damien Broderick & Van Ikin, for editing Warriors of the Tao: The Best of Science Fiction: A Review of Speculative Literature
    • Liz Grzyb & Talie Helene, for ’2010: The Year in Review’, in The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2010
    • David McDonald, Tansy Rayner Roberts & Tehani Wessely, for ‘Reviewing New Who’ series, in A Conversational Life

     

    Chronos Awards

    Best Long Fiction: The Last Days of Kali Yuga, Paul Haines (Brimstone Press)


    Best Short Fiction: ‘The Past is a Bridge Best Left Burnt’, Paul Haines (in The Last Days of Kali Yuga)


    Best Fan Writer: Jason Nahrung


    Best Fan Artist: Rachel Holkner


    Best Fan Written Work: ‘Tiptree, and a collection of her short stories’, Alexandra Pierce (in Randomly Yours, Alex)

    Best Fan Artwork: Blue Locks, Rebecca Ing (Scape 2)

    Best Fan Publication: The Writer and the Critic, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond

    Best Achievement: Conquilt, Rachel Holkner and Jeanette Holkner (Continuum 7)


     
    * It’s possible there might be a photo of me with a bottle of wine and a glass: I was pouring for other people. Honest.

    Salvage launches — tomorrow night!

    salvage by jason nahrungA gentle reminder — well, more of a whoop, really — that Salvage is about to be launch. A bottle of red cracked across the bow and sent out into the stormy waters of the marketplace for your — I hope — reading pleasure.

    Tomorrow night’s launch at Continuum 8 in Melbourne is part of the Twelfth Planet Hour: a party to celebrate not just Salvage but the latest titles in the rather awesome Twelve Planets range of collections by Australian women writers: Kaaron Warren’s Through Splintered Walls and Margo Lanagan’s Cracklescape. You can schmooze with some of the other TPP authors, too. If that wasn’t enough there’s cupcakes, a juggler and a surprise announcement from the press … oo-err! The party kicks off  at 7pm; entry to the convention is by gold coin donation today.

    Can’t make it to the party, nor the convention but still want some seaside love-on-the-rocks with added vampire? Order Salvage at www.twelfthplanetpress.com, and/or enter the Goodreads giveaway for a chance to win a copy.

    At Continuum, I’ll be:

    • Launching fellow TPP author Narrelle M Harris’s sequel to The Opposite of Life, Walking Shadows, published by Clan Destine Press, at 6 o’clock tomorrow night
    • Discussing Backyard Speculation — Australian settings in fantastic fiction — on Saturday 10-11am
    • Reading, probably from Salvage, on Saturday 2-3pm alongside Cheryse Durrant, Alison Goodman and Margo Lanagan
    • Discussing e-books: what are they worth? on Sunday 11am-noon
    • Chatting with guest of honour Alison Goodman on Sunday noon-1pm
    • Discussing Vampires: From Horror to Heart-throb on Monday 10-11am
    • Discussing the Awards Debacle on Monday from 2-3pm.

    It’s gonna be a grand weekend!