Aurealis in retrospect. Beware: Long Post

I was grouchy last night so I didn’t feel up to gushing about what a great time I had on the Aurealis Awards weekend. Now I feel like gushing, so strap yourselves in…

Saturday rocked. Angela (with some excellent forward planning) booked us a very posh room at the Stamford for Sat/Sun. I realise I must have been an empress in a past life (or at least royalty or at least disgustingly wealthy) because walking into the Stamford was like coming home (not literally, as any of you who have been to my house will know! I think my place would probably fit in the soap drawer in our hotel room’s enormous bathroom…) So we splurged on room service, soaked up the air-con, and had a grand time before we even went to the awards.

I met some fabulous people–so many familiar names from LJ, and finally I can put faces to them! I was super-excited to meet catsparx although we didn’t get much of a chance to chat (probably because the whole AA set-up was a bit overwhelming, standing as I was in a lobby full of beautifully dressed people, all giving each other air kisses and squealing with delight at having reunions with old friends); got to brieftly meet girliejones (another person it would have been great to chat with more) and also the very friendly editormum and cassiphone . Perhaps I’ll get a chance to speak with these ladies a bit more at Natcon in Adelaide.

After the awards (which were fab: great speech from Kate Eltham; Cat Sparks, Sean Williams, and Jack Dann got gongs (CONGRATS!) — as did a host of other well-deserving writers; and the whole thing seemed to go off without a hitch) Angela and I went out to dinner with Jack Dann, Stephanie Smith, Kim Westwood (who is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met!), the lovely Natalie from HarperCollins and karenmiller, who I now adore. Karen Miller (aka the woman with the titanium skeleton; the woman who makes cats’ nine lives seem pathetic in comparison to her resilience; the woman who is, in fact, immortal and just doesn’t know it yet) in a word, rocks. What a storyteller! And such great company, it would be fab to catch up with her again soon.

At the end of the night, we went back to our luxury digs and ordered midnight dessert. Wonderful.

Sunday morning recovery breakfast was a delight. Everyone is just so damned nice, it’s almost sickening. I spoke with Justin Ackroyd (who likes his coffee black and nasty) and Kirstyn McDonald (who also took home a gong for Best Horror Short Story — congrats to her!) Plus, I ate a boat-load of smoked salmon, so I was a Happy Girl by the time we rolled on over to the industry seminar at the QWC. From there we headed over to Avid Reader (thanks [info]petermball for giving us a lift!) and heard Margo reading from Tender Morsels.

Then comes the grouchy part of Sunday. Much to our distress, we Clarionites learned that there had been a change to the line-up of tutors (due to unforeseen and totally understandable circumstances). So, instead of Kelly and Gavin (who have still generously offered to critique some of our stories via email) we discovered that we will have two different tutors for the final weeks of Clarion. I was bummed, I must admit, because I ADORE Kelly Link’s stories, and was in seventh heaven thinking I would get to work with her.

However, today my mood lifted up to outer space… For the final weeks of Clarion, we will have Trent Jamieson (another Aurealis winner from Saturday!) and–wait for it–wait for it– JEFF FREAKIN’ VANDERMEER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMFG!!!!!!!! Jeff, of course, is not Kelly. But he’s a damned good second choice. Be still my beating heart.

Now I am having a heart attack, wondering WTF I am going to write for Week 6.



  1. I seethe with envy on that last point, I really do. I’m actually trying to figure out which of you I can realistically murder in secret and impersonate for the week.

    1. No, it definitely couldn’t be either one of us… But might I suggest you replace ‘Gary’ the Clarion lion? Then you would be able to participate in each of the workshops but wouldn’t have to submit any stories (because, frankly, as much as I’d like to read your stories, I don’t fancy an extra crit in Week 6.) Of course, if you did become Gary you would have to be willingly mauled by each of the nervous crittees, since everybody clutches onto him for support while their stories are being torn to shreds…

      1. I can’t think of any situation where my presence would actually be comforting during a bad crit, Gary-disguise or otherwise, so that’s probably out πŸ™‚

  2. Hi Lisa
    Sorry i missed meeting you at the AAs and the breakfast. I was the really wet person, who looked like they were at a wet tshirt competition. Sad news about Gavin and Kelly but Trent and Jeff welldone.

      1. Actually I used the GPS to find the hotel, then parked the car and then Trudi and I got lost. Not only did we get lost for about half an hour but it started to rain when I got out of the car. It was so funny it was ridiculous. Then we found the hotel in the other direction and if we had but gone that way we wouldn’t have been wet or late!

      2. Yes and that was after ten minutes in the loo, with the hot fans drying our clothes and hotel towels to dry our hair. You should have seen the puddle we left as we walked in the door.

  3. There was no air in that lobby – didn’t you think?
    Would love to catch up with you at Natcon though – looks to be more mellow and appropriate for idle chatting

    1. Yeah, the lobby was quite stuffy… I thought it felt that way because I was nervous πŸ˜‰ So what’ve I learned? Humidity + loads of people = a stifling soiree. Still, it was fab that so many people were there.
      And it’ll be really cool to catch up at Natcon — and I’m so glad it’s happening on my home turf this year!

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