My Aurealis Surprise

Shortlists for the 2018 Aurealis Awards – Australia’s premier jury-based award for speculative fiction – were announced yesterday. To my considerable surprise, I have stories in not one but two categories!

“A Moment’s Peace” from A Hand of Knaves – aka “the light-hearted heist with the growly demon voice and the repeated painful death of the narrator” – is nominated in the Best Fantasy Short Story category.

“The Dressmaker and the Colonel’s Coat”, which appears in the self-published Mnemo’s Memory and Other Fantastic Tales – aka “the not-remotely-light-hearted weird western with the seamstress and her brother’s ghost” – is nominated in the Best Fantasy Novella category.

Naturally I am feeling amazed and delighted that these stories have struck a chord with the judges, who are all clearly gentle-persons of refined judgment and excellent taste. I love both stories for very different reasons, but I’m always genuinely astonished to hear that they work for other people as well. (Imposter Syndrome is alive and well and squatting in the bilge of my soul. Harder to clear out than barnacles, it is).

Leaving me aside, this year’s finalists are a wonderful cross-section of the Australian spec fic community. I can’t recommend enough that you check out some of the works on the list – the ones I’ve read are all very deserving, and most of the ones I haven’t seen yet are by authors whose writing I love. Not only that, but the new names on this year’s lists point to a healthy, dynamic writing community.

Congratulations and best of luck to everyone on the nominations list this year – there’s too many of my good friends and peers to name them all (seriously, most of the nominees are people I am lucky enough to know personally or know to be writers who deserve admiration).

As a personal note, because I just want to shout out to Leife Shallcross and Chris Large,  the editors of A Hand of Knaves, who decided they liked “A Moment’s Peace” enough to open the book with it, to Jodi Cleghorn, without whose encouragement “Dressmaker” would never have been written, and to the critiquing teams who knocked both stories into shape – especially Kristy Evangelista, Angus Yeates, Tim Napper, Shauna O’Meara, Juliette Morley, Kim Gaal, Simon Petrie, my mum Jean and probably several people I shouldn’t have forgotten!

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