The shortlists for the Aurealis Awards 2020 were announced last week. I’m a little late to share the news, but I figure this way I help to keep the announcement in circulation a little longer. And it’s a treat to celebrate the enormously prolific and imaginative Australian speculative fiction community.
This year I had the enormous privilege – and not inconsiderable responsibility – to sit on one of the judging panels, which looked at the Best Collection and Best Anthology categories.
(For anyone mystified as to the difference, collections are typically single-author volumes of short fiction which tends to showcase a range of their work, while anthologies are multiple-author volumes that are often editor-led and arranged around a theme ranging from broad topics such as “horror” to more specific or narrow themes, like “creepy clown horror”. In practise the boundaries between the two categories are hazy and porous, so don’t worry about it too much).
The other panellists and I read nearly fifty books of short fiction and poetry between September and February, which believe it or not is one of the lighter reading loads for the judging panels. I shudder to think how much the fantasy novel team needs to get through.
Without giving any hints about the winners, I can say that the books on the shortlists are all superb works that held out against stiff competition, and they are all worth your time. I’m sure the same is true in the other categories. If you’re at all interested in the state of Australian speculative fiction, the Aurealis lists are a great place to start.
Congratulations to all the finalists. It’s no mean feat making the cut, considering how much great work is out there. I’m gratified to see that several stories I admired have shown up on the other short story and novella lists as well, and I’m looking forward to seeing which ones take the trophy.
The Aurealis Awards are presented at a ceremony to be held sometime in the next few months (date and location yet to be announced). Good luck to everyone in the race.