2009 Aurealis Awards

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.

2008 Aurealis Awards

Aimee and I went to the Aurealis Awards this weekend and had a great time. We went to the (blessedly airconditioned) Judith Wright Centre early for the launch of Trudi Canavan’s The Magician’s Apprentice and the awards began at 6.30. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees! It was lovely to congratulate some of the winners in person, and to be gratified by the judges’ choices of my personal preferences (e.g. Shaun Tan’s win) and to talk to judges and hear about what goes into the decisions (a lot of reading and customised bookmarks).

Edited to add: the Governor of Queensland attended this year, which was lovely!

The highlight, of course (apart from the airconditioning) was just being able to catch up with old friends and acquaintances and make new ones and put faces to Facebook profiles. I got to thank Ron Serdiuk of Pulp Fiction (Press and Bookshop) in passing (he moved around a lot) for his efforts as coordinator, meet Lynne Green in person, after a few minutes where we sort of hedged around trying to work out if we were the person in the Facebook photos (mine is a drawing and hers is psychadelic), and many of the Vision and Clarion South people who were there, and spent most of the evening sitting cross-legged on the floor near the bar talking with John Catania (who was a judge in the childrens’ section) and Patrick Jones. We had a very good reason for sitting on the floor in the busiest area of the venue, but I recommend it generally – you can hear the people you are talking to so much better down there! Even so, they both thought I said we usually had a pajama party after book readings at Avid Reader (when in fact we tend to go to the Punjabi Palace).

The following morning (hot, humid and very rainy) there was a recovery breakfast at the Stamford Plaza, where survivors of the night before ate far too much and talked about teaching and books and Trudi Canavan’s builders and Alex Adsett meeting DWJ, and Aimee and I started reading aloud Space Train, which Peter M Ball kindly brought along for me (although he assures me the desire to read it will wear off after the first few pages).Then Robert Hoge convened an industry discussion panel at the Metro Arts Building, which this year focused on copyrights and contracts.

Nicky Strickland, Damon Cavalchini, Peter and I stopped at the Belgian Beer Cafe while Aimee went to the art store. Then Peter, Aimee and I had coffee at Aromas before heading off separately to the Valley where Margo Lanagan was reading from her new novel, Tender Morsels in the humidity on the back verandah at Avid Reader to a packed-out crowd (I had my knees in Angela Slatter’s back (I didn’t really get to talk to her properly this weekend, but she had a lovely red rose in her hair) and was probably distracting Jack Dann (to whom many congratulations) with the fan Aimee talked me into carrying around (although otherwise I’m glad I did). I bought a copy of Tender Morsels and Margo wrote that if I found any sentimentality in it I should let her know and she would have them all pulled.

Aimee and I are holding our own Australia Day/post-Aurealis Weekend recovery at the Coffee Club on Monday at the moment, where it is nominally airconditioned.

This is us at the awards (I have a fan here too but it is behind my back):

Aurealis Awards

I’ve put the winners here because I don’t know if the official page is a static one. There are probably more detailed write-ups all around the web if you want the gossip, who cried and who didn’t fall down the stairs on the way to collect their award.

Best Science Fiction Novel: K A Bedford, Time Machines Repaired While-U-Wait, Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing

Best Science Fiction Short Story: Simon Brown, ‘The Empire’, Dreaming Again, Harper/Voyager

Best Fantasy Novel: Alison Goodman, The Two Pearls of Wisdom, HarperCollins

Best Fantasy Short Story: Cat Sparks, ‘Sammarynda Deep’, Paper Cities, Senses 5 Press

Best Horror Novel: John Harwood, The Seance, Jonathan Cape (Random House Australia)

Best Horror Short Story: Kirstyn McDermott, ‘Painlessness’, Greatest Uncommon Denominator (GUD), #2

Best Anthology: Jonathan Strahan (editor), The Starry Rift, Viking Children’s Books

Best Collection: Sean Williams & Russell B Farr (editor), Magic Dirt: The Best of Sean Williams, Ticonderoga Publications

Best Illustrated Book/Graphic Novel: Shaun Tan, Tales From Outer Suburbia, Allen & Unwin

Best Young Adult Novel: Melina Marchetta, Finnikin of the Rock, Viking Penguin

Best Young Adult Short Story: Trent Jamieson, ‘Cracks’, Shiny, #2

Best Children’s Novel: Emily Rodda, The Wizard of Rondo, Omnibus Books

Best Children’s Illustrated Work/Picture Book: Richard Harland & Laura Peterson (illustrator), Escape!, Under Siege, Race to the Ruins, The Heavy Crown, The Wolf Kingdom series, Omnibus Books

Peter McNamara Convenors’ Award for Excellence: Jack Dann

What the – how the -?*

Next time I have a short story nominated for the Aurealis Awards will Somebody. Please. Tell. Me.

And my name is right next to Catherine Jinks, who is the first (and possibly only) author I ever wrote a fan letter to.**

Congratulations to Anna Tambour who won the category, and whose story I will now hunt down because all the ones I have read have touched me very deeply and occasionally left scars.

Okay, it was a  very short story, and I was one among many nominees but still. Obviously I do not google myself enough.

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*Well, realistically, this is me, so it probably isn’t that surprising I didn’t know.

**Second person. Catherine Jinks even replied. A lady in waiting answered the other one.