The Aurealis Awards were announced in a glittery — and, at times, shoeless — ceremony in North Sydney on Saturday night and I was absolutely thrilled that Madigan Mine won Best Horror Novel. So thrilled that the just-in-case list of names I’d been intermittently rehearsing all day flew out of my head and the first thing I managed to say after been handed the award by the inimitable Kaaron Warren was, “Wow, it’s heavy.” In my defence, it is quite heavy. It’s also very, very pretty.
But I did manage to thank everyone I needed to thank and surprised myself by becoming just a wee bit emotional up there on the stage. I’m really, really grateful to receive this particular award. Madigan Mine took so long to go from initial spark of inspiration to final publication — a time which spanned some very difficult years in my life, personally and creatively — and to be awarded the Aurealis at the end of all that … well, I am so very happy right now.
It truly was a fantastic night. SpecFaction in Sydney have taken over the running of the Aurealis Award from Fantastic Queensland — who did an extraordinary job of hosting them up in Brisbane for the past six years — and it was wonderful to see the baton passed to such and enthusiastic and hard-working team. Nathan Burrage, Susan Wardle and the rest of the organising committee deserve huge kudos for putting on such a great show. Highlights included Garth Nix‘s dry humour as MC, Rob Hood‘s quirky visual presentation slideshows, the divine Angela Slatter accepting not one but two awards in bare feet, and Tansy Rayner Roberts gracious and moving — and well-prepared! — acceptance speech upon receiving the award for Best Fantasy novel.
Wine was drunk, carousing was had, old friends were caught up with and new friends were made. It reminded me once again how special, close-knit and supportive the Australian speculative fiction community really is. As I possibly failed to articulate clearly enough in my acceptance speech, I feel proud and honoured and so very grateful to be able to count myself among their number.
As has become customary on such occasions, the multi-talented Cat Sparx was on hand with her trusty camera to provide a superb pictorial chronicle of the evening. The full set lives over on Flickr but I want to include this photo of myself and my beloved, Jason Nahrung, right here. (Thanks, Cat — you always take the best photos of us!)
2010 AUREALIS AWARD WINNERS:
CHILDREN’S FICTION (told primarily through words)
• The Keepers, Lian Tanner, Allen & nwin
CHILDREN’S FICTION (told primarily through pictures)
• The Boy and the Toy, Sonya Hartnett (writer) & Lucia Masciullo (illustrator), Penguin Viking
YOUNG ADULT SHORT STORY
• A Thousand Flowers, Margo Lanagan, Zombies and Unicorns, Allen & Unwin
YOUNG ADULT NOVEL
• Guardian of the Dead, Karen Healey, Allen & Unwin
ILLUSTRATED BOOK/ GRAPHIC NOVEL
• Changing Ways Book 1, Justin Randall, Gestalt Publishing
• The Girl With No Hands, Angela Slatter, Ticonderoga Publications
• Wings of Fire, edited by Jonathan Strahan and Marianne S. Jablon, Night Shade Books
HORROR SHORT STORY
• The Fear, Richard Harland, Macabre: A Journey Through Australia’s Darkest Fears, Brimstone Press
• Madigan Mine, Kirstyn McDermott, Pan Macmillan
FANTASY SHORT STORY (joint winners)
• The February Dragon, LL Hannett & Angela Slatter, Scary Kisses, Ticonderoga Publications
• Yowie, Thoraiya Dyer, Sprawl, Twelfth Planet Press
• Power and Majesty, Tansy Rayner Roberts, HarperVoyager (HarperCollins)
SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY
• The Heart of a Mouse, K.J. Bishop, Subterranean Online (Winter 2010)
SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL
• Transformation Space, Marianne de Pierres, Orbit (Hachette)
PETER MCNAMARA AWARD
• Helen Merrick
The full list of finalists can be found here. My sincere and heartfelt congratulations to everyone!