Aurealis Awards 2008

It was a big night for Perth’s Adrian Bedford at the Aurealis Awards in Brisbane last night.

Bedford, writing as KA Bedford, has had all four of his novels published by Edge in Canada make the finalist lists of the awards, and last night he scored his second win: for best science fiction novel, Time Machines Repaired While-U-Wait. The novel is also a finalist for the Philip K Dick award.

The awards, recognising excellence in Australian speculative fiction, were presented in a sold-out Judith Wright Centre, with Queensland Governor Penelope Wensley in the audience.

Other winners were:

Children’s fiction

Illustrated work/picture book: Richard Harland and illustrator Laura Peterson, The Wolf Kingdom series
Novel: Emily Rodda, The Wizard of Rondo

Illustrated book/graphic novel: Shaun Tan, Tales from Outer Suburbia

Young Adult
Short story: Trent Jamieson, “Cracks”, Shiny #2
Novel: Melina Marchetta, Finnikin of the Rock

Collection: Sean Williams and Russell B Farr (ed), Magic Dirt: The Best of Sean Williams

Anthology: Jonathan Strahan (ed), The Starry Rift

Horror
Short story:
Kirstyn McDermott, “Painlessness”, Greatest Uncommon Denominator #2
Novel: John Harwood, The Seance

Fantasy
Short story: Cat Sparks, “Sammarynda Deep”, Paper Cities
Novel: Alison Goodman, The Two Pearls of Wisdom

Science fiction
Short story: Simon Brown, “The Empire”, Dreaming Again
Novel: KA Bedford, Time
Machines Repaired While-U-Wait

Peter McNamara Convenors Award: this special award was presented to Jack Dann for his incredible lifetime of achievement in the genre.

This was the first year that prizes were awarded for best collection, anthology and illustrated book/graphic novel.

Fantastic Queensland chairman Damon Cavalchini announced that 2010 would be the last year that FQ would host the awards as their contract with awards founders Chimaera Publications will expire, and a new team to organise the awards for 2011 and onwards is needed.

parallel importation

Ever so slowly, it seems, the threat facing Australia’s writers, and publishing industry, is creeping into the public domain eg Emily Rodda’s warning about the Americanisation of Australian English AND content. If only this was an issue involving sport! There’d be headlines for sure. But no, it’s just writers, those slackers and elitists who contribute so little to the economy and national character… right?

Best I can figure, the Australian Government is considering a change to our copyright laws that currently offer a degree of protection ot the domestic publishing industry by requiring local content to be published here. A more accurate appraisal of the issue can be accessed through this Queensland Writers Centre blogpost.

The upshot of the changes is, that instead of Australian stories being published in Australia, for Australians, they’ll be published overseas, altered for overseas readers, and dumped into our market place at cheap prices thanks to overseas economies of scale. This goes deeper than having your pal’s mom bake you some cookies, as opposed to having your mate’s mum bake you some Anzac bikkies. It means, worst case scenario, fledgling writers such as myself will have even less chance of getting a break in our own home market.

The Australian Association of Authors has more information, as well as links to have your say, should you so be inclined.