Tag Archives: awards

Ditmar nominations are now open

via Jeremy G. Byrne

Ditmar Nominations Open

Nominations for the 2013 Australian SF (“Ditmar”) awards are now open
and will remain open until one minute before midnight Canberra time on
Wednesday, 20th of March, 2013 (ie. 11.59pm, GMT+10). Likewise, postal
nominations must be postmarked no later than Wednesday, 20th March, 2013.

The current rules, including Award categories can be found at:


You must include your name with any nomination. Nominations will be
accepted only from natural persons active in fandom, or from full or
supporting members of Conflux 9, the 2013 Australian National SF
Convention. Where a nominator may not be known to the Ditmar
subcommittee, the nominator should provide the name of someone known to
the subcommittee who can vouch for the nominator’s eligibility.
Convention attendance or membership of an SF club are among the criteria
which qualify a person as “active in fandom”, but are not the only
qualifying criteria. If in doubt, nominate and mention your qualifying
criteria. If you received this email directly, you almost certainly qualify.

You may nominate as many times in as many Award categories as you like,
although you may only nominate a particular person, work or achievement
once. The Ditmar subcommittee, which is organised under the auspices the
Standing Committee of the Natcon Business Meeting, will rule on
situations where eligibility is unclear. A partial and unofficial
eligibility list, to which everyone is encouraged to add, can be found here:


While online nominations are preferred, nominations can be made in a
number of ways:

1. online, via this form:


2. via email to ditmars@sf.org.au; or

3. by post to:

6 Florence Road

And a reminder from me about FableCroft’s eligible works 🙂

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GIVEAWAY: To Spin a Darker Stair

To celebrate the recent multiple award nominations for author Catherynne M Valente and artist Kathleen Jennings, FableCroft is having a giveaway of To Spin a Darker Stairon Goodreads. Easy to enter, and three books available to win! Open internationally.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

To Spin a Darker Stair by Tehani Wessely

To Spin a Darker Stair

by Tehani Wessely

Giveaway ends October 31, 2012. See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

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A look at the Aurealis Awards gender stats

Given the ongoing discourse on gender disparity in awards, reviewing and publishing in general, some people might be interested in the breakdown I did recently on the Science Fiction Novel, Fantasy Novel and Horror Novel categories of the Aurealis Awards. This is the 17th year of the Awards being presented, although the Horror Novel award has not been presented each year.

For the purposes of data collation, each author was assigned a value (ie: if a book had two authors, both were counted) but only shortlisted works were included, not honorable mentions. This gave me a result in total over the three categories of 48% F / 52 % M. If I’d counted those dual authors as one, it would have been almost parity.*

However, when you breakdown the categories individually, there’s a far higher percentage of women shortlisted in Fantasy than SF or Horror. Only twice in 17 years has Fantasy Novel had more men than women on the shortlist, and it’s never been 100% male, while only in the last two years has the balance swung to women in SF Novel (and four times it’s been 100% male).

Horror starts to look good on the surface, with a few 50/50 splits, but only twice as it had more women than men (over 13 years – there’s been No Award in four years), while six times men have dominated (including one 100% male list).

I guess what I’m saying is that over the adult novel categories, the numbers average out relatively balanced, but on closer inspection, this is down to a really strong showing in the Fantasy Novel area. Which is, in Australia during that period of time, probably unsurprising, though unlikely mirrored elsewhere in the world. As an avid reader of fantasy (and someone who is always pleased to see women writers bucking trends), this is a GOOD THING, but it’s not the whole story in speculative fiction across Australia.

Looking a little further, the winners of each category is also interesting to consider (mostly looking at 16 years now, as this year’s awards have not yet been announced). Three times in 16 years women have won the SF Novel category (and one of those was a book co-authored with a man) – including co-authors, that’s three out of 17 winners (17.64% women). Fantasy Novel is a bit odd, but basically out of 20 winners (including ties and co-authored, and including this year’s result because it can only BE a woman, with a clean sweep shortlist), six have been men (70% women). Horror is very unusual indeed, because even though women have less than 41% of the shortlists, the actual winners are 8-6 in favour of women (including ties / co-authors), in a total of 14 winners. This is something that has been somewhat reflected in other local awards, and in the recognition internationally of some of our best women Horror writers, which is worthy of interest when one considers how traditionally male-heavy the Horror field is, in Australia and overseas. Clearly Aussie women are both really good at writing, and superb at creeping people out…

What does this mean? Well, all figures can be interpreted to suit different agendas I guess, but to me, this looks very positive for woman writers in Australian spec fic, and particularly by comparison to the rest of the world. Women here are doing excellent work in fields that overseas are traditionally dominated by men, and while SF shows a significantly different pattern, this genre is seeing a surge in female authored works in recent years, which is hopefully started to redress the balance.

I wonder too if some of the blurring of genre boundaries will add to an increase of what is considered SF, as is perhaps reflected in this year’s shortlist featuring a number of dystopian novels – SF doesn’t have to be about far flung futures or robots and spaceships, but these are frequently fingered as features of the field. There is still somewhat of a dearth of solid SF being published in Australia (there were 33 novels entered in SF Novel, compared to 64 in Fantasy Novel), by men or women, but this year’s Aurealis Awards saw a strong improvement in this area, which hopefully will continue in the future.

With only 12 entries in the Horror Novel section, this too is a genre on the backburner – perhaps the proliferation of dark fantasy on shelves and screens, and the dominance of urban fantasy / paranormal romance (ie: vampires and werewolves, for the most part, which were once the province of scares rather than sex), has diluted the market for strong horror, but as with anything in publishing, swings and roundabouts occur. I have no doubt that at some point Horror will start to forge forward once more, as publishers and audiences seek the next big thing. Hopefully it won’t be at the expense of Fantasy and SF but if it is, as long as there are great women writers in the fray, I won’t complain.

* please note that I’m not a statistician – I did the math as best I could, with some help from my spreadsheet! All figures were taken from files housed at the Aurealis Awards website. Any miscounts are my own, as are my interpretations. I’m interested to hear what others think though!


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It’s Ditmar nominating time!

The nomination period for the Ditmar awards is now open. All works must have been published for the first time in 2011 to be eligible. There’s a quite comprehensive list of eligible works for all categories over here – if there are things missing, you can add to it, cos it’s a wiki 🙂

Once you’ve figured out what you’d like to nominate, head over here and do it! Just about everyone is eligible to nominate (to vote on the final shortlists, you have to be a Natcon member from 2011 or for 2012, but no such restrictions for nomination).

For reference, I’ve listed below things that FableCroft or me are eligible for – I do encourage you to go look at that lovely big list of eligible works though, because there was some brilliant stuff put out last year!

After the Rain is eligible for Best Collected Work, as are all the stories it contains (all Best Short Story category):

from the dry heart to the sea by joanne anderton

powerplant by dave luckett

daughters of the deluge by lyn battersby

when the bone men come by peter cooper

the birth of water cities by angela rega

wet work by jason nahrung

fruit of the pipal tree by thoraiya dyer

europe after the rain by lee battersby

heaven by jo langdon

visitors by peter m ball

mouseskin by kathleen jennings

offerings by suzanne j willis

the shadow on the city of my sky by robert hoge

my flood husband by sally newham

eschaton and coda by dirk flinthart

And the cover art for the book, by Gaston Locanto, is certainly eligible for Best Artwork.

In other categories, I am eligible for Best Fan Writer, and for the William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism and Review, both the blog series on the Vorkosigan Saga that Alex Pierce and I did, and the ongoing “Reviewing New Who” series (David McDonald, Tansy Rayner Roberts and me) are eligible.

I also contributed to the Australian Speculative Fiction in Focus reviews site (as a writer and maintainer) and to the Natcon Fifty Souvenir Book (layout and design by Amanda Rainey, contributors = fandom), both of which are eligible for Best Fan Publication.

It would be remiss of me to not recommend to you a couple of my favourites from the past year:

Joanne Anderton is eligible for Best New Talent (and well and truly deserves it, for my mind – her debut novel, Debris, is excellent (and also eligible in the Novel category!).

Kathleen Jennings is also eligible for Best New Talent, and her artwork on the cover of The Freedom Maze and in the graphic story “Finishing School” from Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories are both eligible for Best Artwork. In a really clever trick, Kathleen is also eligible for Best Fan Artist, particularly for her very cool series “The Dalek Game“.

That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed a big stack of other work this year, and I will be nominating accordingly, but PLEASE check out the eligibles for yourself and NOMINATE!


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Another week!

Life flies by. Sometimes all too quickly, as when you find out that friends are about to leave us far too soon (we’ll miss you Paul). But it marches on, regardless.

In dot points:

  • starting to feel like I have a handle on things at work – have been madly deleting VHS tapes and vertical files from the catalogue this week, and disposing of them by various means. This has led to emptying many shelves, which is a good start. Lots more to go, but nice to see the effect.
  • Sneak peek at the cover art (by Kathleen Jennings) for To Spin a Darker Stair.

    just waiting on final cover design for To Spin a Darker Stair before it goes off to the printer – very exciting time! Pre-order special deals are still available and come with a bonus opportunity to win a copy of Margo Lanagan’s new novel, Sea Hearts – Margo is another luminary of the fairytale retelling genre and while Sea Hearts plays with myth rather than fairytale, it’s simply excellent, so you’ll want to read it!

  • plans are slowing gathering for future weekend events – today we have our first playdate with new friends from school. Next weekend we’re hopefully heading to Hobart to visit Tansy & co. Not long after that we have family visiting for two weeks, during which I will be skiving off to Adelaide for the CBCA judging conference (eep!).
  • this weekend will also include putting together the first issue for 2012 of ic3 (the WA School Library Association Journal) and editing some more stories for Epilogue, which really needs to get to the printer in the next month as well, in order to make its release deadline of the June long weekend.
  • to help balance the shit news on the “friends with cancer” front, my mum had her final chemo yesterday to complete the five months of treatment she’s been having. Another week or so of followup management, then some tests which will, hopefully, be very positive. She has stayed very well throughout this time, other than a couple of little niggles that have been quickly dealt with, so we’re very hopeful that she’s going to be given the all clear. She’s planning to let her hair grow back however it comes, and she’s learned, by living in a one bedroom apartment or a hospital room. that there’s an awful lot you don’t need to have! Decluttering ahoy? 🙂
  • other achievements this past week include finishing the Aurealis Awards reading (I stepped in to a panel at the last minute as a judge had to drop out for personal reasons), knocking over all but half a dozen of my remaining CBCA reading, and being very close to the end of WA Premier’s reading. It’s been fascinating to see which books have not been entered in various awards by comparison, and it’s very interesting seeing what a number of different judges think of various titles. I’m feeling VERY well read in the Australian YA and Children’s field this year!

And now I’m off to unpack some more boxes – managed to empty one this morning already, and unearth a lost library book from Rockingham, so that’s already a win!

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