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Readers advisory seminar - Aurealis Awards by Rowena Specht-Whyte

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This presentation was given as part of Dragons in the Metcalfe, and readers advisory seminar on fantasy 9 March 2011

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Readers advisory seminar - Aurealis Awards by Rowena Specht-Whyte

  1. 1. Dragons in the Metcalfe Rowena Specht-Whyte JudgeAurealis Awards - Fantasy Novel 2010
  2. 2. Speculative Fiction Speculative fiction is an umbrella term encompassing the more highly imaginative fiction genres, specifically science fiction, fantasy, horror, in literature as well as related static, motion, and virtual arts. It is the visionary aspect, in the sense of an author’s vision beyond the limitations of accepted fact, which distinguishes “speculative” art from more naturalistic fiction. “Its concept in its broadest sense captures both a conscious and unconscious aspect of human psychology in making sense of the world, reacting to it, and creating imaginary, inventive and artistic expressions, some of which underlie practical progress through interpersonal influences, social and cultural movements, scientific research and advances, and philosophy of science.” - Wikipedia
  3. 3. Aurealis Awards: A History The Aurealis Awards were established in 1995 by Chimaera Publications, the publishers of Aurealis magazine, to recognise the achievements of Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror writers. The Aurealis Awards are intended to complement the Annual Australian National Science Fiction Convention’s Ditmar Awards and the Australian Children’s Book Council Awards. Neither of those awards distinguishes between the different categories of speculative fiction. The awards originally comprised four categories: science fiction, fantasy, horror, and young adult (broadly, 12-16 years). A fifth category for children’s fiction (ages 8-12 years) was added in 2001. The YA and childrens categories cover works in all three speculative fiction genres. The science fiction, fantasy, horror and young adult categories each have two separate awards, one for novels and one for short fiction. The children’s fiction category also has two separate awards, one for picture books and one for fiction. In 2008, two new categories were introduced: best anthology and collection (separated into best anthology and best collection), and best illustrated work or graphic novel.
  4. 4. Aurealis Awards: Eligibility Any work of speculative fiction written by an Australian citizen or permanent resident and published for the first time during the relevant period. When Fantastic Queensland managed the Aurealis Awards on behalf of Chimaera Publications (2007, 2008, 2009), the eligible publication period was from 1 November to 31 October of each year. SpecFaction NSW presently manages the Aurealis Awards on behalf of Chimaera Publications. For 2010, the eligible publication period was from 1 November 2009 to 31 December 2010. A work can be entered in more than one category. The judges of each category may decide eligibility on a case by case basis. For example, if a work is entered into the science fiction category but does not contain any science fiction elements, the panel may decide it is ineligible for that category.
  5. 5. Aurealis Awards: Judging Judges are volunteers and are drawn from the speculative fiction community; from diverse professions and backgrounds, and may include academics, booksellers, librarians, published authors, publishing industry professionals, reviewers and enthusiasts. The only qualification necessary is a demonstrated knowledge of and interest in their chosen category. Being an Aurealis Awards’ judge involves reading entries in a single category, which may comprise several dozen novels and/or more than a hundred short stories in the process of evaluating the year’s entries. Judges from previous Aurealis Awards’ processes are welcome – indeed encouraged – to re-apply. In the interests of transparency and impartiality, no one may judge the same category for more than two consecutive years and a break of two consecutive years is required before a judge can reapply to be a judge in that particular category again.
  6. 6. Aurealis Awards: About Rowena Enthusiast Lawyer Judge of Horror category (both Novel and Short Story) 2009 Horror entries 2009  approximately 90 short stories (including novellas)  12 novels (including novellas) Fantasy entries 2010  54 novels
  7. 7. Fantasy Novels World building  Political system  Religion  Physical environment  History Character  Development  Realism Some supernatural or “fantastic” element Consistency (particularly in “magic”)
  8. 8. Australian Fantasy Authors  Sara Douglass  Isobelle Carmody  Juliet Marillier  Garth Nix  Traci Harding  Patricia Wrightson  Sean Williams  Kim Wilkins NB: Examples of “well-known” names only
  9. 9. Themes in Australian fantasy Flood Drought Racism Isolation Scarcity of resources Urban sprawl Death Feminism Mateship
  10. 10. Recommendations X6, coeur de lion publishing, edited by Keith Stevenson  “Sea-Hearts” Margo Lanagan – winner 36th World Fantasy Awards – Novella (2009)  “Wives” Paul Haines – winner Aurealis Awards – Horror (2009)  X6 – finalist Aurealis Awards – Anthology (2009) NB: Personal opinion, not that of Aurealis Awards
  11. 11. Recommendations Madigan Mine by Kirstyn McDermott  Horror  Dark fantasy  Possession When Alex meets Madigan again everything changes. His childhood sweetheart is beautiful and impulsive, but there is something wrong with her. Something dangerous. Then she commits suicide. Now Alex can’t get Madigan out of his head. Is it all in his mind, or is she communicating with him? To save himself and those he loves, Alex must uncover the sinister reason why Madigan took her own life – and why she won’t lie still in her grave.NB: Personal opinion, not that of Aurealis Awards
  12. 12. Recommendations  Death Most Definite by Trent Jamieson  Urban fantasy  Detective noir Steven de Selby has a hangover. Bright lights, loud noise, and lots of exercise are the last thing he wants. But that’s exactly what he gets when someone starts shooting at him. Steven is no stranger to death-Mr. D’s his boss after all-but when a dead girl saves him from sharing her fate, he finds himself on the wrong end of the barrel. His job is to guide the restless dead to the underworld but now his clients are his own colleagues, friends, and family. Mr. D’s gone missing and with no one in charge, the dead start to rise, the living are hunted, and the whole city teeters on the brink of a regional apocalypse-unless Steven can shake his hangover, not fall for the dead girl, and find out what happened to his boss- that is, Death himself. NB: Personal opinion, not that of Aurealis Awards
  13. 13. Recommendations Power and Majesty by Tansy Rayner Roberts  Historical urban setting  Magic  Politics She almost missed the sight of a naked youth falling out of the sky. He was long and lean and muscled ... He was also completely off his face. A war is being fought in the skies over the city of Aufleur. No one sees the battles. No one knows how close they come to destruction every time the sun sets. During daylight, all is well, but when nox falls and the sky turns bright, someone has to step up and lead the Creature Court into battle. Twelve years ago, Garnet kissed Velody and stole her magic. Five years ago, he betrayed Ashiol, and took his powers by force. But now the Creature Court is at a crossroads ... they need a Power and Majesty who won′t give up or lose themselves in madness ... NB: Personal opinion, not that of Aurealis Awards
  14. 14. Aurealis Awards 2010 Entries closed 31 December 2010 – 54 novels entered Finalists and winner have been decided Finalists will be announced next week Winner will be announced at Awards’ ceremony in Sydney on Saturday, 21 May 2011 All welcome to attend! Details will be posted on the website:
  15. 15. The “value add” Aurealis Awards’ judges’ report – 2009 Fantasy Novel List of award winners and finalists – Aurealis Awards 1995-2009 – Fantasy Novel category Happy reading!