Tag Archives: judging

2012 Aurealis Awards Judges

It gives me great pleasure to announce the judging teams for the 2012 Aurealis Awards. The website will be updated shortly, but I know many judges are very keen to be outed, so here they are!

FANTASY NOVEL Helen Merrick (C), Joe Marsden & Cathie Tasker

FANTASY SHORT STORY Kathryn Linge (C), Peter Hickman & Tania Walker

SF NOVEL Alex Adsett (C), Lorraine Cormack & Alex Pierce

SF SHORT STORY Ben Payne (C), Dorothy-Jane (D.J.) Daniels & Cat Sparks

HORROR Stephanie Gunn (C), Emma Kate & Rob Riel

YOUNG ADULT Lyn Battersby (C), Lynne Lumsden Green & Gillian Polack

CHILDREN’S Jenny Hegedus (C), Joy Lawn & Tim McEwen

ILLUSTRATED BOOK/GRAPHIC NOVEL Deborah Biancotti (C), Andrew Finch & Kaaron Warren

COLLECTIONS/ANTHOLOGIES Katharine Stubbs (C), Sarah Hazelton & Matthew Chrulew

Once again we had a great number of applicants for the judging roles, and we really appreciate everyone who offers to volunteer their time for this important job.

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In judgement

This year I was invited to judge the inaugural Rockingham City Council Short Story competition. I was judge for the KSP Speculative Fiction comp a couple of years ago and enjoyed the experience (my judge’s report for that one isn’t on their site anymore – might post it somewhere for posterity) so I was happy to say yes. Foolishly, I thought it probably wouldn’t be a huge job – first year of the competition and all. I didn’t reckon with the powers of Lee Battersby, competition organiser and champion! Ended up with nearly 140 entries across three categories (Youth, Open and 50+). The stories had only one theme – the inspiration of an artwork owned by the RCC, the very evocative “The Eviction” by Derrick Carroll.

I did my duty and chose the winners (1st, 2nd and 3rd plus three honorable mentions in each category – 18 in all). It was blind reading – all names stripped from the manuscripts, just numbered. So imagine my surprise when Lee told me that the winner of the Open and 50+ categories was the same person, and the winner of the Youth section was her daughter! I was blown away, particularly as the three stories were all very different. I would never have imagined the Open and 50+ stories to have been written by the same person. I thought that was pretty funny. It was even funnier tonight when all the winners were announced at a lovely little event put on by the Council, when I realised that every single one of the 18 stories I’d selected as winners was written by a woman. Could have knocked me over with a feather!

Am I a gendered reader? I wouldn’t have thought so. Yes, a lot more women than men pass through my hands when I’m reading these days, but fifteen years ago, four out of my top five favourite authors were men (Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Raymond Feist and David Eddings – Anne McCaffrey rounded out the five). It’s changed since then, and while I still do read and enjoy many books and stories by male authors, if I’m given the choice between a new male author and a new female author to read, I’ll almost certainly pick the female.

I don’t think I can put the motive for this change squarely in the court of the company I’ve been keeping for the past several years (I’m looking at YOU Alisa, Tansy, Helen, Alex et al!), although of course that helps. I would suggest that part of it is an exposure to more woman writers, but also my own growth and change as a person. It’s an interesting thing to consider about myself.

***

Anyway, here’s the gist of my judging report for the competition:

It was a great privilege to judge the inaugural Rockingham City Council Short Story competition this year. The huge number of entries was a surprise for the first year of a competition, but demonstrated the interest in the creative arts in our area and across Australia.

With such a darkly intricate artwork to draw inspiration from in “The Eviction”, it’s hardly surprising that stories were evocative, compelling, disturbing and engaging. While many writers took a very literal interpretation of the work, others used it with a light touch, with satisfying results in both areas.

The image prompted many ghost stories, which was fascinating, and a multitude of works featuring a cat as protagonist. Both types of story can be difficult to execute successfully, and the best took the trope and gave it a unique twist. While many works were very well-written, some were let down by a lack of true story, being instead mood pieces or vignettes. A very short story is possibly one of the hardest types of writing to execute well, as in a limited space there is still a need for plot, character and good writing. Rarely can any one of those three elements stand well enough on its own to create a good story – almost always, all three are required. The very best of stories uses all three seamlessly and integrates them into a work that makes it impossible to tell which of the three are doing the hardest work in making it great!

YOUTH SECTION

1st place – While not unique among the entries in terms of the premise (ghost stories were a favourite trope for this competition), this story was executed extremely well. The characterisation and set up of the story were very believable – it was creepy and sad, and above all, written beautifully.

2nd place – An action-packed piece that took me to a completely different place than I’d anticipated! Cleverly done and well-written.

3rd place – One of the few stories submitted that examined the painting itself rather than simply drawing inspiration from it. While not quite as well put together as the first and second place stories, it held my attention and made me want to read it again once I got to the end.

OPEN SECTION

1st place – Eerily beautiful, this haunting story still packs a punch. I love the paranormal premise here, and the writing is excellent.

2nd place – This solid story was a dark little insight into what goes on behind closed doors. A quite innocent facade but not all that pleasant to read!

3rd place – Another behind-closed-doors story – the narrator of this piece was particularly likeable. A little sad story.

50+ SECTION

1st place – This story took a fabulous idea and pulled off a well-paced, creepy tale. The over-the-top characterisation set off this horror story very cleverly. Great writing!

2nd place – As an editor, I would have advised the author to do some judicious trimming of this story, but it’s overall a very well-written piece. I liked the way the painting played an important role in the story.

3rd place – A number of the submissions tried to use an anti-hero narrator – someone completely unlikeable telling the story. This is a difficult thing to do well and this story did it best. Cleverly done.

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WA Premier’s Book Awards

For the second year, I’ve been a judge for these awards. Last year I did Children’s and YA on my own; this year, it was rather more sane, with two of us judging the YA and then we also have the children’s shortlist to read, so there will be four of us deciding the winners for both shortlists. There’s some fabulous books out there by Aussie authors!

 

Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards shortlist announced.

Culture and the Arts Minister John Day today announced the shortlists for the 2010 Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards.

Mr Day said a record number of 571 entries were submitted this year, compared to 400 for the 2009 awards.

“I am pleased these important awards are attracting so many entries from a wide range of publishers,” he said.

“This year, a People’s Choice Award has been added to the mix of categories.

“The six titles short―listed in the Fiction category will be eligible for this award, and I encourage avid readers and book club members across Australia to familiarise themselves with each of these fantastic works, so they can influence the outcome.”

Voting on the People’s Choice Award will commence on July 25 and finish on September 2. The voting form will be available on the State Library’s website.

The winners will be announced in September 2011.

 

Non Fiction

A Three-Cornered Life: The Historian W.K. Hancock Jim Davidson UNSW Press
Breaking News Ben Hills Scribe Publications
Into The Woods: The Battle For Tasmania’s Forests Anna Krien Black Inc.
Macquarie Harry Dillon and Peter Butler Random House Australia
Reading by Moonlight Brenda Walker Penguin Group Australia
The Quest For Justice Ken Crispin Scribe Publications

Fiction

Body in the Clouds Ashley Hay Allen & Unwin
Indelible Ink Fiona McGregor Scribe Publications
That Deadman Dance Kim Scott Picador Australia
Traitor Stephen Daisley Text Publishing Co.
Utopian Man Lisa Lang Allen & Unwin
The English Class Ouyang Yu Transit Lounge Publishing

Poetry

Burning Bright Caroline Caddy Fremantle Press
Colombine, New & Selected Poems Jennifer Harrison Black Pepper
Fire Diary Mark Tredinnick Puncher & Wattmann
Phantom Limb David Musgrave John Leonard Press
Pirate Rain Jennifer Maiden Giramondo Publishing
Selected Poems of Dorothy Hewett Kate Lilley UWA Publishing

Children’s Books

Henry Hoey Hobson Christine Bongers Random House
Mirror Jeannie Baker Walker Books
Sarindi’s Dragon Kite Janine M. Fraser/Illusrator Elise Hurst Harper Collins Australia
The Red Wind Isobelle Carmody Penguin Group Australia
The Three Loves Of Persimmon Cassandra Golds Penguin Group Australia
Toppling Sally Murphy/Illustrator Rhian Nest James Walker Books

Young Adults

Anonymity Jones James Roy Random House Australia
Happy as Larry Scot Gardner Allen & Unwin
The FitzOsbornes in Exile : The Montmaray Journals 2 Michelle Cooper Random House
The Midnight Zoo Sonya Hartnett Penguin Group Australia
This Is Shyness Leanne Hall Text Publishing Co.
Wavelength A.J. Betts Fremantle Press

Scripts

Do Not Go Gentle Patricia Cornelius HLA Management
Gwen In Purgatory Tommy Murphy Currency Press
Life Without Me Daniel Keene Currency Press
Love Me Tender Tom Holloway HLA Management
Quack Ian Wilding Currency Press
Songs for Nobodies Joanna Murray—Smith Currency Press

State Library of Western Australia WA History Award

From the Barracks to the Burrup: The National Trust in Western Australia Prof Andrea Whitcomb and Dr Kate Gregory UNSW Press
Till the Stream Runs Dry: A history of hydrography in WA Bill Bunbury Department of Water
The Australind Journals of Marshall Waller Clifton 1840-1861 Phyllis Barnes and Dr James Cameron Hesperian Press
The Forgotten Explorers: pioneer geologists of Western Australia, 1826-1926 Dr J. J. E. Glover and Jenny Bevan Hesperian Press
Vite Italiane: Italian Lives in Western Australia Dr Susanna Iuliano UWA Publishing

Digital Narrative

Only a small number of entries were received for this category and there will not be a shortlist. An encouragement award will be announced at the award presentation ceremony.

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What have I been doing?

For archival purposes (I AM a librarian after all), here’s a few things I’ve been doing since I stopped blogging over at the old place.

In April there was Swancon. It was busy. I was tired. The lead up to the con and it’s after effects is probably the main reason my blogging went all to hell this year – there wasn’t much room for much else! I think it went fairly well overall, and while I never EVER want to do the madness that was committee/dealer/three kids at the con again (thank goodness for Terri and Shani is all I can say!), I am not saying “never again” like a sensible person :) As usual, it was great to catch up with friends and make new ones. Would love to consider Conflux later this year, so will see where we’re at by then!

We decided to sell up in WA and move to Tassie, where husband has mining interests. This has so far involved lots of cleaning and decluttering of the house as it went on the market – no offers yet, but relatively good interest in a fairly dead market. We’ve started selling furniture and getting rid of some stuff, and will continue to do so until we sell. Won’t be making the move until the sale, so could be here a while yet!

Bub and I took a flying (literally!) trip to Sydney for the Aurealis Awards in May. Mum flew down from Queensland (she went a few days early and spent time with her sisters, which was nice for her) and babysat for me while I went and enjoyed the awards. Was a little surreal to see so many people again only a few weeks after Swancon (was great to catch up with even more who WEREN’T at Swancon), and although it was madness flying over Saturday morning and coming back Sunday (thank goodness for Helen travelling over with me!), I’m really glad I went. Was a great show, and I got to bring back an award (it wasn’t mine, but still fun all the same!). The photo is of author (and emcee for the night) Garth Nix doing the unicorn salute. I wouldn’t take a picture of the much ruder zombie salute :) FableCroft had two nominations (in the YA short story category) but no wins in a TOUGH category – well worth checking out all the shortlists for some good reading! We’ve been lucky enough to make a bunch of shortlists actually, which I’m pretty chuffed about given last year was the first year FableCroft was publishing! We had spots on the Ditmar, Tin Duck and Chronos awards lists as well, which was lovely. Shaun Tan’s gorgeous cover for Australis Imaginarium took the gong for Best Artwork in the Victorian Chronos Awards just last weekend, and I was lucky enough to snag the Tin Duck for Best Fan Writer over Easter, and was part of the Snapshot team which won Best Achievement at the Ditmars! Very cool stuff.

I started judging the CBCA Book of the Year awards, as the WA judge – fortunately, they’re willing to keep me even after we move! The first box arrived a few weeks ago (while I was still finishing WA Premier’s judging, but I coped!) and the second box is due this week. WA Premier’s is all but in the bag, with the judging conference next month. Managing to read a bunch of other stuff in between finishing shortlists and boxes, which is nice!

I also judged the inaugural Rockingham City Council Short Story Competition (thanks to Mr Lee Battersby, who got me in there), although it was a big surprise to get more than 150 entries across three categories! Was a great piece of art for the stimulus and some really good stories. An interesting job!

We’ve all been relatively healthy so far this year, except for poor bub with a major bout of conjunctivitis and a shocking cold. He’s a chirpy little beast though and nothing seems to faze him much. On the other hand, we’ve had BOTH vehicles with big breakdowns – the bus was off the road for nearly three weeks after breaking down on the freeway the day after Swancon, and hubby’s Paj had a meltdown after it’s big Tassie trip. Fortunately both are under warranty and neither cost too much other than inconvenience. RAC was also worth it’s weight in gold thanks to the two tows required by the bus and free car rental for a few days while we were carless!

Hmm, what else. This past week as be the week of professional development. Had two days of it at school (although I only went to one, being part-time), then Friday was training to do the CAL Copyright Survey (should be VERY interesting in a school of over 100 staff!), and Saturday was the WA School Library Conference. I enjoyed this (I like PD, okay!) and it’s always nice to catch up with library colleagues from around the state. Took lots of photos for the journal (oh yes, another thing eating my time is editing the new WA School Library Association journal, just started this year) and had lots of lovely chats. Also enjoyed meeting John Marsden and doing a writing workshop with him (and giving him a copy of Worlds Next Door, which he admired very appropriately!). I went back to work yesterday and immediately used some of his activities and they went really well!

I haven’t been spending nearly as much time with friends as I would have liked in the past month or two – the house has been taking up a lot of time (we’ve had tilers, electricians, cleaners, agents and all that jazz, plus just the general decluttering etc takes TIME!) but had a lovely afternoon with Helen and the kids at the park on Sunday, and hopefully will start spending more time with people now that things seem to be under control. Before I leave. Boo.

Well, I’m sure there’s more that’s happened in the past couple of months, but that’s all that a quick run back of Facebook posts gleans me, so that’ll do :) Hopefully I manage to keep a little more up to date from this point on!

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Aurealis Awards – Fantasy Novels; my musings on the category I’m NOT judging.

When I first started judging for the Aurealis Awards, I was lucky enough to snag the very best possible category for me – Fantasy Novel. I convened that panel for two years, but the rules say you can only judge a category for two years before you have to have a break of at least two years. So last year I judged YA (novel and short story) and this year I’m convening the Fantasy Short Story category, both of which I’ve enjoyed. But Fantasy Novel is definitely my first love. As I said to one of the lovely HarperVoyager people at Aussiecon 4, I AM their target demographic! And even though I’ve been reading six zillion other things this year, I’ve still managed to snavel up a bunch of the 2010 novel entries for the Fantasy category. Because it’s what I like to read. And I’ve got to say, the judges this year have their work cut out for them! Not only do they already have almost 45 entries (and there’s still a couple of months until entries close!), but the standard is really really high. 

Below is the list of entries to date (from the Aurealis Awards website) – I’ve bolded the ones I’ve read so far (or have on my near future To Be Read shelf…) and italicised those I’ve read previous instalments of the series but not this one.

ANITA BELL DIAMOND EYES
SAM BOWRING DESTINY’S RIFT 
SAM BOWRING SOUL’S RECKONING
TRUDI CANAVAN AMBASSADOR’S MISSION
KYLIE CHAN EARTH TO HELL
KYLIE CHAN HELL TO HEAVEN 
BEN CHANDLER QUILLBLADE: 01 VOYAGES OF THE FLYING DRAGON
ROWENA CORY DANIELLS THE KING’S BASTARD
ROWENA CORY DANIELLS THE UNCROWNED KING

ROWENA CORY DANIELLS THE USURPER – next on my TBR shelf!
SARA DOUGLASS THE INFINITY GATE
ANTHONY EATON DAYWARDS
WILL ELLIOTT PILGRIMS
KIM FALCONER STRANGE ATTRACTORS
KIM FALCONER PATH OF THE STRAY
ANNE HAMILTON MANY-COLOURED REALM
TRACI HARDING UNIVERSE PARALLEL 
TRACI HARDING BEING OF THE FIELD

VIRGINIA HIGGINS FAERYTALE
TRENT JAMIESON DEATH MOST DEFINITE
TRENT JAMIESON MANAGING DEATH – will be VERY excited to get this book!
SYLVIA KELSO SOURCE – I really enjoyed Amberlight, because it challenged me as a reader of fantasy.
KEVIN KLEHR DRAMA QUEENS WITH LOVE SCENES
GLENDA LARKE STORMLORD RISING
DUNCAN LAY THE RISEN QUEEN
DUNCAN LAY THE RADIANT CHILD
BEVAN MCGUINESS SLAVE OF SONDELLE
FIONA MCINTOSH KING’S WRATH
KAREN MILLER WIZARD SQUARED
KAREN MILLER THE RELUCTANT MAGE
NICOLE MURPHY SECRET ONES – will definitely get to this one by the end of the year, promise!

G. L. OSBORNE COME INSIDE
CHRISTINA PHILLIPS FORBIDDEN
MICHAEL PRYOR LAWS OF MAGIC 5: MOMENT OF TRUTH
TANSY RAYNER-ROBERTS POWER AND MAJESTY
KENNETH JAMES SHEERIN MYVANWY AND THE HOUSE OF DRAGON
JOEL SHEPHERD HAVEN
ROBERT N STEPHENSON UTTUKU
K J TAYLOR GRIFFIN’S WAR – am really looking forward to reading this – loved the first book (which was on the AA shortlist last year), but was disappointed in the second, so am keen to find out how this one goes!
K J TAYLOR GRIFFIN’S FLIGHT
REBECCA (R.J.) TIMMIS DAVID AND THE HEART OF AURASIUS
MARY VICTORIA TYMON’S FLIGHT
JESS WEBSTER THE SECRET STEALER: A GRAND HISTORY OF THE CURSE AND ITS ACCURSEES, VOLUME 267: JAMES WINCHESTER IV

I was interested to note that Madigan Mine, by Kirstyn McDermott, is only nominated for the Horror Novel category. It could just as easily slip into a dark fantasy categorisation, for my mind. There seem to be quite a lot of self-published works on the entry list, which is interesting – I’ve not yet come across a self-published work that comes anywhere near hitting all the right buttons to make it even to my top 10 for the year, but there’s always a first time, so it’s never something you write off. A few of the entries are entered as both Science Fiction Novel AND Fantasy Novel – that is always a worry for me, because if the publisher and/or author don’t know what category something belongs in, it will usually mean that entry will fall down in genre markers for one or the other, which drops its standing in the rankings. And it’s rare that a book that’s entered into the Children’s category will have enough depth to match adult Fantasy novels. However, Young Adult novels can stand up quite well, and it’s always interesting to see which YA entries make both shortlists!

To conclude, I’ll be very interested to see what the final shortlist for the Fantasy Novel category of the Aurealis Awards turns out to be, and wish the judges all the very best in their decision making – it’s not an easy job!

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