The Aurealis Awards were on Saturday – a very classy evening put on by Fantastic Queensland, Ron Serdiuk and Diane Waters. It’s the last to be administered by Fantastic Queensland and possibly the last in Queensland. Very sad – it’s been a beautiful series of events and it’s nice to have everyone come to Queensland!

I left buying my ticket until a week before the awards and then, luckily, left home at 5 for a 6.30 start. It should have been a 20 minute drive, but the Ipswich Motorway was blocked, and then the Story Bridge was completely closed because someone was threatening to jump. Then the traffic in Southbank was terrible, there were accidents on the Captain Cook Bridge and another on the freeway. But I made it on time, and didn’t get locked out, which was all to the good, because I ended up receiving the inaugural Kris Hembury Award for Emerging Writers & Artists! I always thought they warned people who were getting awards, but no-one even checked I was coming – someone told me later that of course they knew I was, and that Fantastic Queensland is “like the CIA”.

I wrote about Kris’ funeral last July.

The award was presented by Kris’ parents Perry and Leith after a very moving speech by Kate Eltham and a slide show of Kris which had most of the audience sniffing. I jumped when they announced me (Tim said that was the highlight of his evening) and had to climb out over a row of of people and give a completely impromptu, somewhat emotional and very sincere thank you, of which I do not remember a word. Such a very great honour, and it was wonderful to see Kris’ parents again and meet more of his family.

The cocktails ran late and there were congratulations in many directions. I caught up with and met many old friends and new, including Madeleine Rosca who gave me a copy of her shortlisted Hollow Fields. I dropped Janet home afterwards, and went in again the next morning for breakfast at the Stamford, morning tea with Karen Miller, Lisa Hannett, Angela Slatter, Peter M Ball and Abigail Nathan, and last hurrah drinks for FQ at the Belgian. Then I was unwell from the heat and the partying and went to church and home and completely forgot I was meant to be out to dinner – I am a bad friend.

The full awards were:

Best Science Fiction Novel
Andrew McGahan, Wonders of a Godless World, Allen & Unwin

Best Science Fiction Short Story
Peter M. Ball, ‘Clockwork, Patchwork and Ravens’, Apex Magazine May 2009

Best Fantasy Novel
Trudi Canavan, Magician’s Apprentice, Orbit

Best Fantasy Short Story – joint winners
Christopher Green, ‘Father’s Kill’, Beneath Ceaseless Skies #24
Ian McHugh, ‘Once a Month, On a Sunday’, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #40, Andromeda Spaceways Publishing Co-operative Ltd

Best Horror Novel
Honey Brown, Red Queen, Penguin Australia

Best Horror Short Story – joint winners
Paul Haines, ‘Wives’, X6, Coeur de Lion Publishing
Paul Haines, ‘Slice of Life – A Spot of Liver’, Slice of Life, The Mayne Press

Best Anthology
Jonathan Strahan (editor), Eclipse 3, Night Shade Books

Best Collection
Greg Egan, Oceanic, Gollancz

Best Illustrated Book/Graphic Novel
Nathan Jurevicius, Scarygirl, Allen & Unwin

Best Young Adult Novel
Scott Westerfeld, Leviathan Trilogy: Book One, Penguin

Best Young Adult Short Story
Cat Sparks, ‘Seventeen’, Masques, CSFG

Best Children’s Novel
Gabrielle Wang, A Ghost in My Suitcase, Puffin Books

Best Children’s Illustrated Work/Picture Book
Pamela Freeman (author), Kim Gamble (illustrator), Victor’s Challenge, Walker Books Australia

Further awards presented at the ceremony:

The Peter McNamara Convenors’ Award for Excellence
Justin Ackroyd (he got warned in advance)

The Kris Hembury Encouragement Award for Emerging Artists
Kathleen Jennings.